Migrating Birds range
Black enamelled sparrow series. Priced £15-22.
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Women’s Craft Collective
jewellery range is inspired by the women’s experiences of migrating to
Birmingham. Migrating Birds was created with the support of Rita Patel, a
successful contemporary Birmingham jeweller.
The Shelanu Collective now have their own website: http://www.shelanucollective.co.uk
In May 2013 Shelanu were featured on the BBC Radio WM show Midlands Masala. You can hear the interview using the SoundCloud link below.You can hear BBC WM Midlands Masala show sundays 6pm-8pm hosted by Arshia Riaz. Arshia was involved in our project Connecting Communities where Shelanu linked up with the Young At Heart group from Sheldon in Birmingham.
Craftspace, was highly commended in the Craft Skills Awards 2013 for our work with Shelanu, at a ceremony in London on 2 May hosted by Kirstie Allsopp and attended by HRH Prince Charles. You can see a video of the nominated projects including images of Shelanu here. Craftspace was shortlisted for the Engaging New and Diverse Audiences in Craft Skills award.
To coincide with Caught in the Crossfire, Shelanu; Women’s Craft Collective, have created an exclusive range of 40 limited edition pieces inspired by Coventry as a city of peace and reconciliation. You can buy the work from the Herbert gallery shop.
After visiting the Herbert and Coventry, the members of Shelanu were struck by the ethos of the city to overcome war and conflict, through building understanding and tolerance, encouraging people and communities to work together. As a group of refugee and migrant women, these ideals echoed the group’s own ambitions and experiences:
"My favourite piece is the text in the Peace and Reconciliation gallery about a way to avoid future wars and live peacefully alongside former enemies because I have the same hope for Israel" Kinneret
The group were moved by the ongoing work of Coventry Cathedral and its global role within the International Centre for Reconciliation and the Community of Cross and the designs in wood take inspiration from the Cathedral’s windows, referencing a bud to symbolise new life and hope.
The circular nature of some of the designs was an important inclusion to many of the women signifying the importance of remembering conflict to hopefully learn from the past.
The circle also symbolises global links, including Coventry’s bond with 26 twin cities and the German Circle, a group created in Coventry following the Blitz to learn about the German culture together.
The colours chosen for the pieces are reminiscent of John Piper’s ‘Interior of Coventry Cathedral’. Painted by the official war artist, the work depicts the Cathedral ruins in stunning technicolour the morning after it was destroyed in an air raid on November 14th, 1940.
"My favourite piece is the painting of the Cathedral. The colours are a symbol of hope and a nice contrast to the sad black and white photos." Kiki
The pieces have been inspired by Coventry, designed by the Collective, laser cut and hand finished in Birmingham. The development of this range was supported by Craftspace intern Saskia Van der Gucht.
Following a summer of exhibitions Shelanu have been busy completing their Migrating Birds range, ready for three Christmas Craft Fairs in Birmingham. The Collective are participating in The Barber Institute Fair on 24th November, mac marketplace Contemporary Craft Fair on the 8th December, as well as a fair in the offices of Ernst and Young.
The Migrating Birds range of jewellery is inspired by the women’s experiences of migrating to Birmingham. Migrating Birds was created with the support of Rita Patel, a successful jeweller. Following individual design development Shelanu members selected their favourite bird designs to be re-worked as collective forms, which were then wire cut from copper in the Jewellery Quarter. These pieces have been hand finished, then enamelled by Shelanu or silver plated in the Jewellery Quarter.
Shelanu are also very excited to announce a commission from The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry. They have been asked to make pieces inspired by the themes of their exhibition, ‘Caught in the Crossfire: Artistic responses to conflict, peace and reconciliation’ which opens on 25th January 2013.
The jewellery range is being designed by adopting a collective process, so all members are involved. The process is being supported by Craftspace intern Saskia Van der Gucht. The resulting range will explore themes of peace and reconciliation through visual elements which relate directly to Coventry, but also the women’s own diverse experiences.
2013 also promises to be a busy year with plans to target gallery shops, with the Migrating Birds range, a Birmingham focussed project and expansion plans to work with more refugee, migrant and newly arrived women.
Shelanu has been collaborating with jeweller Kathryn Partington to develop batch produced and handmade jewellery. The women have been using Birmingham as their starting point. Birmingham has always been a place of revolution; of enlightened thinking, engineering genius, commercial prowess, cultural tolerance and creative diversity. It is a city that is always looking forward. The women are also looking forward and experiencing their own personal revolution of change and new experiences.
Utilising craft techniques the women have made work in response to their environment, creating a sense of place for themselves and highlighting elements which other residents may take for granted.
“Shelanu – which means belonging to us – is a Birmingham based craft social enterprise. Shelanu is a collective of migrant and refugee women who produce high quality craft objects inspired by their new home of Birmingham, informed by their countries of origin. The women of Shelanu are currently working with Craftspace to develop the craft social enterprise. The work stimulates and contributes to a contemporary sense of place-making enabling others to rediscover heritage, identity and individualism through the eyes of diverse cultures.”
“Our aim is to assist refugee women to become more aspirational through their creative and holistic development, encouraging better integration into local communities and for those communities to profit from the diversity and richness of the women’s experience.”
“The development of the social enterprise is enabling the women to not only learn new skills but also use existing ones which they’ve been unable to utilise since being here. One woman is a trained graphic designer but has been unable to work in the UK. As well as making the craft pieces she has also worked with our graphic design company, Stripeyhorse, to develop the Shelanu brand. Another lady was a teacher, she is looking forward to using her skills to lead workshops for the community to share the new skills she has learnt.” Emma Daker, Exhibitions and Project Development Manager, Craftspace.
Shelanu is always looking for clients for bespoke commissions and workshops. We are also keen to talk to potential partners, volunteers and mentors.
Follow us on Twitter: @shelanucraft or
Funded by The Baring Foundation & Arts Council England.
The Custard Factory are delighted to be supporters of Shelanu.
Shelanu is an initiative which aims to develop a craft social enterprise with newly arrived and refugee womenpromoting excellence in making. The social enterprise will contribute towards the role of crafts as an ongoing contribution to the cultural, economic, social regeneration and tourism infrastructure of the country.”
Deirdre Figueiredo, Director Craftspace.
Developing people, ideas and opportunities through contemporary craft.