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Women Helping Women: Stitch by Stitch

Mujeres Artistas

Women Helping Women: Stitch by Stitch

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Contact: Bonnie MacAllister Molly Crowley
Women’s Caucus for Art Rubia Inc.
215.262.9227 610.613-8025
phila_wca@yahoo.com m.crowley@rubiahandwork.org
http://www.marycrowley.com/rubia http://www.Rubiahandwork.org

"Women Helping Women: Stitch by Stitch"
Afghan Women’s Collaboration with the Women’s Caucus for Art Philadelphia Chapter

Opens May 2, 2008-May 31, 2008
City County Building, Wilmington, DE

The WCA-Philadelphia has partnered with Rubia to organize the collaborative project,
entitled: "Women Helping Women: Stitch by Stitch." The project involved the creation
of a quilt, which showcases the work of women from Darrai Noor, Afghanistan and
over 25 American women artists from the Women’s Caucus for Art and Rubia. The
majority of the participating U.S. artists are from the Philadelphia Chapter; yet,
artists from New Hampshire, Florida, Oregon, Tennessee, Missouri, Montana, California,
Louisiana, and Washington, DC have also joined in this collaborative effort. Joining
the Wilmington Exhibit will be several large suzani, displayed by Afghan women’s
fund. These large embroidered tapestries are fine examples of the culture of embroidery
in Central Asia and its association with women, in particular.

The United States artists observed the embroidered motifs found in Rubia’s handwork,
which include the poppy, the peacock, and the swirling sun as found on the Rubia
Website (http://www.rubiahandwork.org). Each square piece is an interpretation of
a Rubia embroidery. The Women’s Caucus for Art Philadelphia chapter assembled the
larger tapestry combining embroidery from Afghan women and each artist’s 10 x 10
inch piece to create an impressive and intricate tapestry.

WCA-Phila Co-President Mare Elcin observed, "It was interesting to see how artists
here picked up a needle and thread, perhaps for the first time, and were able to
better appreciate the time and effort the Afghan women put into their craft."

"I am amazed by the diversity of work and techniques each artist used in this challenge.
Some artists moved far away from their traditional mediums to express this interpretation
with textile and embroidery techniques. The tapestry is dynamic and inviting to
the audience, it is truly hard to describe in words" states Molly Crowley, of Rubia

"The outreach to the other chapters of the WCA was a new undertaking for our chapter.
It had been a long time since we conducted a national show, and we were thrilled
at the response. These Afghan women are extremely isolated, and it is so exciting
to work with them and to raise money for Rubia to continue its programming to pay
Afghan women a living wage for their art forms," WCA-Phila Co-President Bonnie
MacAllister commented.

"I wrote a poem for the project, and I wrote of the women’s strengths. ’With one
hand she bastes, binding the tatters set forth for her. She can round off, truncate,
confines, trim knotty spots others might skirt, seize Gordian tangles, effect brim
or hem in her authority,’" MacAllister continued.

Elcin expressed, "I find chapter collaborations to be a way to unify the members
of our chapter and get the creative juices flowing. Members have an opportunity
to address a medium and a topic that they may never have approached before, which
in turn may prompt ideas in individual studios for future work. By joining with
Rubia for this collaboration, we were able to open up our worldview and find commonalities
with women across the globe. We have the added benefit of helping another organization,
bring awareness to their cause, and hopefully improve the economic viability of
our sisters in Afghanistan."

The show will debut at the Redding Gallery in the City County Building in Wilmington,
DE. The show will then travel to the Grace Episcopal Church in Merchantville, NJ.
Shows across the nation are pending approval as many artists wish to see the quilt
exhibited their home towns. The quilted piece will be showcased at the DC Chapter’s
Networking Day at the Arts Club of Washington, DC on April 5.

"I am excited to see Rubia’s work in Afghanistan welcomed by so many artists in
America. The response has been fantastic. In this exhibit, we get to showcase a
very different view of Afghanistan, the creation of beautiful crafts, the tradition
of embroidery, and some glimpses at home life in Afghanistan. I think this is new
to a lot of our audience, and yet there seems to be a very deep understanding, visible
through the interpretations by American women." Molly Crowley continued.

Rubia is a project of Social & Environmental Entrepeneurs (SEE), a registered
501(c) [3], which provides non-profit status. Rubia serves women in Afghanistan,
offering education, skills training and income opportunities through the promotion
of their traditional handwork. Rubia is committed to building sustainable business
in a fragile environment, empowering women while respecting traditional ways, reviving
and preserving traditional crafts.

As an official chapter of the National Women’s Caucus for Art, the Philadelphia
Chapter supports and upholds their mission statement and by laws. In addition, the
chapter is committed to creating a support network for women in the visual arts
in Philadelphia and surrounding communities. The Women’s Caucus for Art Philadelphia
Chapter strives to increase awareness and recognition of women in the visual arts
through our exhibitions, lectures, publications and other educational programming.
"Women Helping Women: Stitch by Stitch" opens with "Environmental Distress: Work
by the Women’s Caucus for Art, Philadelphia Chapter" May 2, 2008 at the Redding
Gallery, City County Building, Wilmington, DE. Live Performances by Sigma Alpha
Iota Women’s Music Fraternity, Temple University Chapter, FREE.

Rubia/ WCA-Phila Collaboration

WCA-Philadelphia Chapter

Redding Gallery

WCA-Philadelphia Blog
Stitch by Stitch Artists:
Women’s Caucus for Art Participating Artists

Alison Altergott- WCA-Phila Past President and WCA/DC

Cynthia Back - WCA-Phila

Betsy Bohrer- WCA-FL

Sharon Burton- WCA/DC and WCA-Phila

Donna M. Conroy - WCA- Central Mass

Kathy Dobash- WCA-Phila

Virginia Dragschutz--WCA St. Louis, MO

Marie Elcin- WCA-Phila

Veronica Gledhill- WCA-Phila

Jo Grishman- OWCA- Oregon

Marilyn Hayes--WCA President, WCA-Phila and WCA-DC Past President

Martha Knox- WCA-Phila

Becky Kramer--WCA Member at Large, Montana

Bonnie MacAllister- WCA-Phila Co-President and WCA/DC

Virginia Maksymowicz- WCA-Phila Treasurer

Debbie McCarthy- WCA-Phila

Karin Morris- WCA-Phila

Alison Nastasi- WCA-Phila

Marcelle Harwell-Pachnowski - WCA/DC

Diana Riukas- WCA-Phila

Sonia Sherrod- WCA-Phila Secretary

Heather Sundquist- WCA-Phila

Denise Tullier-Holly- WCA-LA

Katie Weaver--WCA/DC President

Michelle Wilson- WCA-Phila Past President

Kay Wood - WCA/ St Louis MO

Rubia Board and Staff, Participating Artists

Molly Crowley- Photographer (PA)

Jeanne Freeze- Fabric artist and upholsterer (NH)

Beth Gottschling- Graphic Designer and Photographer (Wash-DC)

Rachel Lehr- Photographer and Fabric Artist (NH)

Alicia Luckstead- Painter and Multmedia Artist (MD)

Anna Mueser - Multimedia Artist (PA)

Sussy-Rose Shields - Metal Artist (NH)
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