Host A Storycloth Workshop
"After 3 years coming here to US, I became a preschool teacher. I am so proud of that. One day one of my coworkers told me that I was stealing somebody else’s job. ‘Here in America, we need people like you only to pick up lettuces or tomatoes.’” Ingrid, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Esther’s response to the profound loss of her home and family was to stitch her story. In your community, students and families, particularly in immigrant communities, can find their voice and share their own memories of family and home by telling their stories in the form of story cloths. Even more, sharing their story cloths with others can help to find the common humanity that can bridge divides within and among communities. Stitching Our Stories workshops draw on these healing and empowering qualities.
Stitching Our Stories workshops are well-suited for community organizations and schools with a variety of diverse participants, including disadvantaged and at-risk youth, immigrant families, and English-language learners. For many students, learning their family stories may be a first opportunity to hear their parents’ and grandparents’ stories of courage and fortitude, and to take pride in those experiences. Older students can also gain an appreciation for the life experiences of their peers.
For adults, the workshops can be cathartic, allowing them, through art, to confront the deep-seated emotions that they may have long held within themselves. Esther’s art and story can show them the importance of recalling and sharing their life experiences, and give them a powerful example of how their stories can be told.
DOWNLOAD instructions on how to conduct story cloth workshops with your community.
VIEW immigrant story cloths created by local Santa Fe, New Mexico community groups in 2016.
VIEW student story cloths created by 5th Grade students at Hunter College Elementary School in conjunction with Art and Remembrance in 2009
“It’s good to know that I’m not alone and other people are working through obstacles and hardships as well.”
Storycloth Workshop Participant
Stitching Our Stories: Santa Fe
Connecting Immigrant and Local Communities Through Story Cloths and Conversations
Santa Fe, New Mexico is home to a significant-and growing-number of immigrants. Although the city is proudly a Sanctuary City, their immigrants’ stories are seldom seen and heard by the general public. Produced by Art and Remembrance in collaboration with Ripple Catalyst Studio, Stitching Our Stories was a collection of artistic threads–an exhibition, story cloth workshops, and a public evening of dialogue.
At the center was an exhibit of photographic images of Esther’s tapestries along with story cloths created by local Santa Fe immigrants who were inspired by Esther’s art and story. The visual testimonies of Esther’s survival and present day immigrants’ journeys, along with their first-person stories, served as catalysts for meaningful engagement and understanding between immigrant and other local residents.
Their storycloths reflected many of the same themes as Esther’s art, a telling of the pain and longing of people who leave behind family and country — and of challenges in finding acceptance in a new place. But many also mirrored Esther’s resiliency, their pictures speaking poignantly to the hopes and aspirations of people seeking a new and better life as Americans.
View Gallery of Story Cloths from Santa Fe Community Members
Click on image to see details
Telling my story for the first time, it has unlocked my heart.
Storycloth Workshop Participant
Story Cloth Workshop Participant