This describes our 8 week prototype project for Elders in the woods around the theme of weaving. It also involved children from our Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday Tribes so it was inter-generational.
We were supported with some government COVID-19 funding. (See below)
Every Monday from Monday 19th April 2021 to Mid summers day 2021, for 2 hours in the afternoon between 2 and 4pm, a group of up to 15 elders came to Kaliwoods to explore the magic of weaving. Weaving a natural tapestry, using words with the local poet Dean, using stories with the story teller Sue, and we even had a flying visit by Simone from Paris (France) to weave some art. As we wove a natural tapestry, we shared our stories of what this past year has been like, our ups and downs, our inside and outside, under the safe canopy of Kaliwoods.
Our thanks to both these funders for facilitating this happening:
Engaged Communities Fund – via Community Action Suffolk – Project 28 Marginalised Older People.
Connected Communities (co-financed with European Regional Development Funding) via East Suffolk County Council, (supported by Ian McKee)
Our thanks also to Karen Kerridge of Halesworth Volunteers and Jo Bidmead from St Elizabeth Hospice who connected us with some of the Elders, and Halesworth Community Bus and it’s drivers who transported us.
This was the specification for the project:
Here is our end REPORT
Below each week is documented.
Elders Week 1 – Carding the wool
Carding combs, cups of tea, Dean the poet came and stayed. We introduced ourselves, said where we’d come from. We toured the wood, and saw the loom.
‘I’ve had the longest conversation in a year. I’m wearing a smile, unlike my usual grumpy face. ‘
‘I’ve lost my sense of smell, but surprisingly I can smell the wood smoke and now will associate it with weaving, trees, spring, the walk in the wood.’
Elders Week 2 April 26 – Spinning the yarn, mending socks and Dogs Mercury
Tell us about your name, Shona asked. Liked and disliked, celtic, royalist, the curse of the silent e… The joys of Sticky Willie aka Cleavers. Weaving the hazel into a hurdle. Our talk ranged from using tennis balls to mend socks to how Dogs Mercury got its name.
Elders Week 3 – Lockdown stories made into a poem
It was the week of Lockdown stories – missing and grateful – caputured by Dean into a rainbow coloured poem. How some were huggers and some were not, some missed music, some grateful for chickens.
It was a day of visitors, Mell and Sara Knight came, along with Karen from Halesworth Volunteer Centre and Jo from Compassionate Communities. And Dean of course.
We wove, of course, our poem. Dean scribed our words down on coloured paper, then disappeared into the Big Bath Bomb Dome, and unfurled them in front of our eyes
Elders Week 4 – Tai Chi and Nettle Tea, Kids and Sue’s spider story
Sue the story teller came and wove us the story of Arachne. Inspired by the weave or was it the woof, N gave us a gentle introduction to Tai Chi, with a full expulsion of air and noise at the end before we drank down Nettle tea. Two of the young tribes families came as well as Dean and Karen. And Chris came back. Hurray!
Elders Week 5 Bubble Wrap and challenges
Lysandra’s tribe along with Jack and Het, joined the Elders for this weeks venture in the woods. Dean and Karen came along – they cannot keep away and we are glad for them.
In fact Dean opened our circle with his Bubble Wrap, awakening our love of words. We added ours to the pot, before standing up and loving the finding of the archer in Tai Chi.
Afternoon of challenges like hiding treasure and drawing a map to it.
Elders Week 6 – Tai Chi under the trees and Game Exchange
We welcomed a whole 3 generations of family, missed Shona and Dean, welcomed Serena, and meandered through the wood for Tai Chi under the Hornbeam trees, before writing riddles and exchanging games . At the end, a gift presented.
Elders Week 7 – Drawing weaving with Simone, the spider story
The summers day Simone came and invited us to draw exchange and Sue spun the story of the spider who collected the fire.
Elders Week 8 – Reflection, Consequences, Qi Gong –
Our final week, last Qi Gong with Naomi, game of consequences, and reflection on our gathering here in the woods. Some sadness that we were ending, but thanks to some visitors, there was hope of a future gathering.
The Grand Unveiling of the Tapestry
A visit from Kevin Vaughan from the Pear Tree Fund on our last day, bore great fruit. Not only did he offer a space to hang our combined tapestry, he enjoined us to collaborate with the Pear Tree Fund in the future. It will be our pleasure.
On the the day of the grand unveiling, news flashed in on our emails that a new funding bid had been successful and we now have funding to continue to roll out this project Autumn 2021 and Summer 2022. Hooray.