|This page is devoted to jounal entries posted by founder Terry Helwig about the project. You may want to bookmark this page so you can come back and check on how things are progressing.
After ten years, I am making plans to step away from The Thread Project. It has been an amazing journey and experience—one that will remain with me always. I am grateful to the tens of thousands who participated in the making of these seven incredible tapestries.
A decade ago, I twirled a slim thread between my fingertips, feeling—in the aftermath of 9/11—that our world hung by a tenuous thread. Wondering if others felt as I did, I invited people worldwide to send me their threads of hope, tattered as they might be. Tens of thousands of diverse threads arrived to be woven together on looms. The resulting tapestries, seven in all, hung across from Ground Zero in St. Paul’s Chapel for the five-year anniversary of 9/11. Various panels were exhibited in the United Nations, England, Canada, and presented to the Ambassador of Lesotho, Africa. A special cloth panel was woven on a back-strap loom in Guatemala and one panel was lost in Afghanistan. Other panels were woven in Australia, El Salvador, Ghana, South Africa, Hungary, Israel, Greece, India and numerous states in the US. For a decade these cloths have promoted tolerance, celebrated diversity and encouraged compassionate community. A slim thread of hope is no small thing.
Possible outcomes for the World Cloths include: an organization acquiring all seven cloths; several organizations acquiring one or more of the cloths; or dividing the cloths into 49 separate panels to be auctioned to private individuals with the proceeds going to a charity whose mission mirrors that of The Thread Project.
As of this writing, the World Cloths remain at the International Headquarters of the Community of Christ Temple, dedicated to peace, http://www.cofchrist.org/visit in Independence, MO. Every day for the past 17 years, the Temple has offered a prayer for peace at 1:00 pm, joining the prayers of others around the world. Thousands of people tour the facilities each year.
The Thread Project will celebrate its tenth anniversary this year. A decade ago, I twirled a slim thread between my fingertips, feeling—in the aftermath of 9/11—that our world hung by a tenuous thread of hope. Wondering if others felt as I did, I invited people worldwide to send me their threads of hope, tattered as they might be. Tens of thousands of diverse threads arrived to be woven together on looms. The resulting tapestries, seven in all, hung across from Ground Zero in St. Paul’s Chapel, for the five-year anniversary of 9/11.
Tattered threads are apt metaphors for new beginnings. Most creative projects begin with nothing more than an idea—a wispy thread so fragile, tentative, and unformed that it could be brushed aside as easily as a silken strand, stretched across a morning path.
What is it that causes us to pause? What convinces us to clear a space in our world for a glistening strand of possibility?
For me, three things come to mind: resonance, synchronicity and commitment.
Resonance: a sound produced by a sympathetic vibration
When an idea resonates within me, seemingly vibrating some inner knowing, I take notice. Several years ago, while telling my friend Sue Monk Kidd about my life growing up, she asked if I had ever thought about writing my story. I paused—feeling like a plucked harp string. I had thought about writing a memoir, but I had brushed the idea aside on my way to something else. Not that day. Instead, I allowed that gleaming strand of possibility to stretch itself across my imagination.
Synchronicity: meaningful coincidences
In the months that ensued, the subject of writing surfaced in numerous conversations. Several friends recommended memoirs I should read. During that time, I published an article about The Thread Project in a magazine that led a publisher to contact me about expanding the article idea into a book. However, I noted that my internal harp strings were silent on the matter. Perhaps, someday, farther down the road, I will write a book about The Thread Project. Still, the coincidences caused me to brush up against the writing world, giving me the conviction and momentum I needed to pen the first shaky lines of my memoir.
Commitment: something that takes up time and energy
After shepherding The Thread Project tapestries to completion, I committed my time and energy to writing my memoir. I showed up at my desk regularly for the better part of three years. Invariably, when we commit our time and energy over and over, something begins to emerge—like The Thread Project tapestries. Only this time, I was weaving words instead of threads.
As it turns out, my memoir Moonlight on Linoleum will be released by Simon & Schuster this coming fall—October 2011. It is a story about caring for my five younger sisters in the big-sky country of the American Southwest, where I attended twelve schools in eleven years. It’s a story about hope, despair and redemption. Hopefully, it will inspire others to believe not only in their dreams, but also in the power of tattered threads to weave new beginnings.
The World Cloths remain at the International Headquarters of the Community of Christ Temple, dedicated to peace, http://www.cofchrist.org/visit Independence, MO. Every day for the past 17 years, the Temple has offered a prayer for peace at 1:00 pm, joining the prayers of others around the world. Thousands of people tour the facilities each year.
I continue to pursue opportunities for a permanent home for the seven World Cloth tapestries.
Thanks to Heather Powers, one of our project weavers, The Thread Project is now on Facebook. We invite you to become a friend of The Thread Project.
My hope for this new decade is harmony. Peace and harmony do not demand conformity; but rather require imaginative ways to weave differences together. Our World Cloths are metaphors for weaving differences into a unified whole. On each loom, disparate warp and weft threads run north/south and east/west. It is only through the act of weaving that these diverse threads are brought together to create cloth.
Here in my country, I see a great divide widening between our major political parties. What troubles me most is not the differences between these two platforms. Our country was founded on the belief that people have the right to hold opposing views. What grieves me most is the inability of these two opposing platforms to come together to govern our nation effectively. If this trend continues, what we have, in essence, are warp and weft threads unable to weave the fabric of democracy. How sad that these “red” and “blue” threads coil into their separate balls, refusing to stretch themselves upon a loom of possibility to become something greater than either one alone.
In my imagination, I play with the idea of weavers transporting their looms to Washington, DC and staging a Weave-In on the Mall or in one of the chambers. The weavers would demonstrate how both the weft and warp threads (red and blue) were essential to weaving this amazing cloth we call democracy. We are too diverse a nation and world to share a single point of view. Our task then, as weavers of harmony, is not to strive for conformity, but to weave our differences into a single, harmonious whole—complex and large enough to incorporate warp and weft, red and blue. This both/and thinking allows us to create rather than stagnate. It stretches us toward compassionate community and unconditional positive regard.
Compassionate community and harmony continue to be the thrust of The Thread Project. As of this writing the World Cloths remain at the International Headquarters of the Community of Christ Temple, dedicated to peace, http://www.cofchrist.org/visit in Independence, MO. Every day for the past 16 years, the Temple has offered a prayer for peace at 1:00 pm, joining the prayers of others around the world. Thousands of people tour the facilities each year. One of the organizers writes: We are grateful and humbled to house The Thread Project. The temple will continue to exhibit the World Cloths until a permanent home is selected.
For those who are curious, I have completed my memoir. I am now in the lengthy process of finding an agent and publisher. I like to think the memoir reflects some of the themes of the World Cloths—light, hope and reconciliation.
Reflections in 2009
Not long ago, I gave our daughter Mandy a Bluebird of Happiness to keep on her windowsill in her home to remind her that life is good. I am not referring to the good life but the gift of life itself. Life is Good because you and I have been granted the exquisite gift of being alive in this world. Life is Good because you and I have the capacity to create, to love and to hope. Scottish writer Alexander Chalmers says: The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.*
If Chalmers is right, it looks like this year should be a happy one for The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth.
Something To Do:
Attending to The Thread Project in its eighth year requires less time, but there is always something to do. In preparation for the 2009 exhibit at the International Headquarters of the Community of Christ Temple http://www.cofchrist.org/visit in Independence, MO, three large trunks, containing all seven World Cloths and the earth ball, were packed and shipped. Once in MO, the cloths were hung over a three-day period and are now on display until 2010; the cloths can be viewed from nine to five in the foyer. The Temple where the World Cloths hang is dedicated to peace. Every day for the past 15 years, the Temple has offered a prayer for peace at 1:00 pm, joining the prayers of others around the world. These prayers began seven years before the inception of The Thread Project. I like to think that prayers like these and others may have helped inspire me to create The Thread Project. What other creations may yet spring from such prayers? In our war-torn world, there is still much to do.
Something To Love:
In addition to family and friends, I also treasure the many connections I have made with people world-wide—our weavers, our thread contributors and others. When I see the seven World Cloths hanging together, a virtual rainbow of threads and humanity, I feel incredibly blessed and happy to have been the founder and director of The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth. In 2009, I will be wearing two hats. One is to continue on as director of The Thread Project and the other is to write a literary memoir. I have completed one hundred pages of the memoir thus far and love the daily rhythm of writing, which puts me in touch with my hopes, my dreams and my heart. In the daily rhythms of life, there is much to love.
Something To Hope For:
A possible home for The Thread Project? In 1984, the United States Congress established the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), an independent, nonpartisan, national institution. Its goals are to help prevent and resolve violent international conflicts; promote post-conflict stability and development; and increase conflict management capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide. Congress funds USIP and ground breaking for the new USIP headquarters, on the NW corner of the National Mall in Washington DC, took place June 8, 2008. Part of the USIP will contain a Public Education Center (PEC) designed to appeal to people of all ages from the United States and abroad. The PEC will offer a wide range of exhibits that engage and inform citizens about the issues critical to global security and international peacemaking. I have offered the World Cloths to the PEC, which they are considering. A decision should be forth-coming in 2010. Thus in 2009, there is much to hope for—not just for the Project, but for our country and the world at large.
May the Bluebird of Happiness perch on your windowsill in 2009 as a reminder that Life is Good!
*In addition to Alexander Chalmers (1759-1834), this quote also has been attributed to Allan K. Chalmers
Reflections in 2008
Since seven symbolizes wholeness and completion, it seems fitting that, in its seventh year, The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth has evolved into an international exhibit, combining visual arts with drama. For me, these seven years have been a remarkable journey of perseverance, trust and amazement.
A major culminating event transpired in the fall of 2007, when 19 of our 49 weavers gathered to meet each other for the first time in Charleston, SC. Traveling from many locations in the US as well as El Salvador and Canada, the weavers also attended the opening of The Thread Project International Exhibit, which ran from September 8 – October 28, 2007. I wish every weaver could have joined us, especially for the Weavers’ Forum, which was archived on tape. I was honored to sit in a circle with these remarkable women, listening to their experiences of weaving a communal cloth. Later that same evening, cameras flashed as the weavers proudly stood in front of their particular panels and said “Cheese!”
Unique to the Charleston Exhibit, compared to the earlier Thread Project exhibits at the United Nations and St. Paul’s Chapel, across from Ground Zero, was the debut of The Thread Narratives: Real Threads and True Stories, a one-act play illustrating how a single thread evolved into an international exhibit. The play brings to life 74 of the thousands of stories that have been woven into the cloths.
For years, I had read and documented every letter sent to the project, considering myself a keeper of the stories. And while I had high hopes of someday writing a play, I was convinced my dream had to be shelved a few more years to attend to the full-time demands of The Thread Project. Duty called. However, every time a letter touched me, I wished I could convey to others the depth of human caring being woven into the warp and weft of each cloth. One day, after reading a poignant letter from a prisoner named Michael, my desire to share The Thread Project stories collided with my desire to write a play! I thought it delightfully ironic that The Thread Project led me TO this particular dream instead of AWAY from it.
In the midst of writing the play, I had the privilege of watching actress Carol Anderson, from Black Mountain, NC, perform her play Hildegard of Bingen. I was so impressed with Carol’s talent that I invited her to collaborate with me on the narratives, with one condition—that she would also act in them. A year later, sitting in the audience on opening night, I could see, registered on the faces around me, the same feelings I had often felt sitting alone reading the letters. Our play had given the cloths, hanging all around us, a voice…and what stories they had to tell!
As the project enters its final phase, under my watch, I continue to research potential permanent homes, as well as touring companies to exhibit the cloths. The ideal scenario would be to gift them to an organization with international exposure, one that celebrates diversity and tolerance. In addition, other venues are being considered to stage The Thread Narratives. I hope my plans intersect with the greater plans of the universe. In the meantime, I hope to dust off yet another dream tucked on that shelf of mine; it involves writing a memoir. It may take me a while to do these things, but I’ve had some experience in the arena of perseverance. I’ll let you know how I make out.
Ahead in 2007
We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads and along these sympathetic fibers our actions run as causes and return to us as results. --Herman Melville
Now in our sixth year, I marvel that the universal language of thread continues to weave a connection between people world-wide. Early in January, I met with host Timberly Whitfield on the Hallmark Channel’s New Morning show to share the progress and future of The Thread Project. During the interview, which airs March 12, I realized five major milestones were accomplished in 2006: 1) the cloths were completed; 2) three panels (Guatemala, Lesotho and Sioux Lookout, Ontario) were displayed in the Indigenous Exhibit at the United Nations in New York City; 3) over 400,000 people viewed all 49 panels hanging together for the first time in St. Paul’s Chapel, across from Ground Zero, for the 5-year anniversary of 9/11; 5) Good Housekeeping introduced the Thread Project to 25 million of it’s readers in their Thanksgiving 2006 issue.
While I cannot know with certainty how the Project will unfold in 2007, we forge ahead with plans, hopes and dreams for the future. In the early part of 2007, I will be writing The Thread Narratives, a dramatic piece to be performed by five actors. With the cloths as a backdrop, The Thread Narratives bring to life some of the voices, stories and threads woven into the cloths. For example, one of our panels, woven in Lesotho (Le-sue-to) Africa, carries within its warp and weft the stories and voices of a community of African women. After weaving their panel for The Thread Project, some of the Lesotho women decided their panel was too plain. Before it was to be presented to the ambassador of Lesotho, the women were inspired to weave in tufts and tufts of their native mohair. The result is an inimitable, wooly panel that makes me smile whenever I look upon it. The voices that rise from the mohair panel tell of a mountainous country often called The Kingdom in the Sky. The voices tell of women struggling to keep their rural villages afloat in the midst of drought, crop failure and the closing of diamond mines. These tenacious women have banded together to weave beautiful mohair rugs, blankets and other crafts. Some of these women wrote their names in thread on the back of the panel; they are hoping that the world will learn more about them. I share their story, hoping the same thing. (More information about the cooperative can be found in our weavers section under the heading of Sophia’s Mantle.
In March, seven different-colored panels, one from each cloth, will be displayed at the international WOMENSPEAK conference in San Antonio, TX. The conference will gather women of all nations and creeds to encourage them to use their wisdom to effect change in the world. I will speak about the Project and the importance of materializing our visions.
The summer and fall will be spent preparing and exhibiting all 49 panels at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, SC. The exhibit will run from September 8 - October 28, 2007. In conjunction with the exhibit, several events are planned for the 49 Thread Project weavers. The Sophia Institute, a long-time friend and sponsor of the Project, will hold a Meet-the-Weavers Reception and a Weaver’s Forum for the weavers to gather and meet for the first time; I have met only a few of the weavers in person. Almost two dozen stateside weavers have expressed an interest in attending, and we are hopeful that a few from other countries will join us as well. We plan to record the Weavers’ Forum as a way to preserve some of the history of the cloths. It will be a culminating moment to see the weavers gathered into one room and to realize that bits and pieces of thread somehow brought us all together.
By the end of year, I hope an organization will step forward to travel and exhibit the cloths for a year or two, using The Thread Narratives as an outreach to promote compassionate community. Then we hope to find permanent homes for the cloths. We are trying to decide if all seven of the cloths should ultimately hang in one place, or if seven places could be connected by each housing one cloth, i.e. one cloth might go to each continent, truly a symbol of world unity. St. Paul’s Chapel, where all of the cloths hung for three months, has asked if one of the cloths might "live" at the Chapel when the Project comes to an end. While no decisions have been made, we know a good home when we see one!
Exhibit at St. Paul’s Chapel, New York City
Where can one thread lead? I can say without exaggeration that one thread unravelled my life, and in a most positive way. I have shared that The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth began on the night of 9/11/2001. As I lay in bed, too numbed to sleep from the day’s events, I kept thinking our world is hanging by a thread. I wondered if that precarious thread was enough to hold us. Could a thread of hope or compassion matter in the larger scheme of life? Should we let go of that thread, or hang on? It occurred to me that every human life begins with us dangling from a thread in our mother’s womb. It is from that place that we are born; maybe a thread is no small thing.
I began to wonder what would happen if I sought out another thread of hope and yet another. What if these modest threads found one another, joined together, and were woven into a new tapestry? What kind of fabric could we weave? My question was both metaphoric and literal. Metaphorically, I imagined weaving a social fabric that celebrates diversity, encourages tolerance and promotes compassionate community. Literally, I imagined weaving the most diverse cloth ever woven from thousands upon thousands of threads collected from individuals world-wide.
Never mind that I don’t know how to weave, at least not threads. Ideas don’t always come to the qualified, sometimes they come to the willing. Besides, I have been told I am a weaver of other things such as people, dreams and hope. The thread I began following on the night of 9/11 turned into full-time work which still continues five years later. In the days and nights since I cut that first thread, I have learned the power of one plus one. I have had my small heart unravelled and stitched back together with precious threads, pulled from the fabric of people’s everyday lives: shoe laces from children; threads from 9/11 families; a piece of a baby blanket from a grieving mother, otter fur shed in Alaska; fishing line; even a tattered piece of material, shredded in the Southern winds of Antarctica. I understand that an invisible web spans the continents.
Before the Project began, many countries were faceless places to me, foreign, unfamiliar shapes on a world map. For instance, I had never heard of Lesotho, a country surrounded by South Africa. But, after five years of following my thread, the world is not so much a map as a cherished photo album to me. In my album, Margarita stands smiling over her loom in El Salvador; in Israel, Suri weaves overlooking the green hills near the region of the tribe of Ephraim; Ilona’s daughter in Hungary demurely holds scissors to cut away long strands of yellow warp; in Greece, Eleni gathers her lively students around a panel of Ariadne’s Prayer; in Atlanta, Georgia young children, with all shades of skin, weave their threads together; Sarita smiles shyly in India; and Mantanki and Mabetuele stand with pride beside a panel they are helping to weave in Lesotho. I am privileged, beyond measure, to feel myself a part of an invisible web that holds and connects us all.
The bits and pieces people have sent—their ribbons, wire, lace, and, yes, even a piece of bicycle tire, have been woven into 49 panels of a richly textured cloth on looms world-wide. Today, as I write this, all 49 panels, including my very first thread, are on their way to St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City, to hang from the balcony there, across from Ground Zero, for the 5-year anniversary of 9/11. St. Paul’s Chapel was the heart of the eight-month relief effort at the World Trade Center site; it opened its doors to those seeking solace, hope and community. I am humbled to think that our slender threads have made their wobbly way, across the span of five years, to pay homage to the people, the place and the incident that called them forth.
I have learned that our threads—be they hope, compassion or cotton—are no small thing!
The cloths will be on exhibit in the Chapel from August 18 until November 30, 2006.
When weaver Judith Krone wove the first panel of cloth some years ago, she asked me if she might also weave the last (49th) panel, when the time came. I agreed because I liked the feeling of coming full circle, of having the first and last panel woven by the same weaver, on the same loom, with years spanning the time and distance between the two. Still, I could hardly imagine that day arriving. How many years would it take for one thread to evolve into tens of thousands; how long to find 48 weavers, how long to spread the word to people on every continent? My answer seems to be: four years and seven months!
The 49th panel was woven on April 20, 2006 on Judith’s loom in her mountain home in Mineral Bluff, Georgia. (We still have several outstanding panels in various stages of completion, but they will soon be on their way to us!) A small group of women gathered as we marked the weaving of the last panel and blessed each of the seven different colored cloths as they begin to make their way into the world. (You can see a color of each panel in the Photo Album). Phase I, Gathering the Threads, and Phase II, Weaving the Threads, are complete. Phase III, Exhibiting the Cloths, now begins in earnest.
It was an emotional moment for me to weave several rows of the last panel of cloth. As I threaded the shuttle to and fro, I realized that I will no longer be looking for weavers, or gathering threads to be woven into the cloths. For more than four years, I have been opening letters to find bits and pieces of thread, pulled from the fabric of people’s lives. Just recently, I received thread from Coon Rapids, MN where an English class had decided to tie their threads together for global harmony. A young girl named Erika wrote, “This is a piece of the towel that my best friend, my guinea pig, laid on as he died.” I held Erika’s piece of towel in my hand, knowing some of the feelings captured in its warp and weft. I thought about the time my own daughter Mandy held her pet gerbil Puddles just before he died.
Time after time, the stories that accompany the threads take up residence inside of me; threads from 9/11 families; threads from a Holocaust survivor; the clumps of mohair worked into a panel woven in Lesotho, Africa. I understand that I, too, have been woven with these threads sent by people I wouldn’t recognize on the street. Yet, I know about their son or daughter, their mother, father or grandmother. I know about their feeling of joy, sorrow, hope and, sometimes, even their shame. They take the time to tell me about a special shirt or piece of clothing, one they have taken the time to rip apart to send me a piece of it. I am amazed that others believe that The Thread Project matters; I am buoyed by the knowledge that each thread represents a heart of hope and goodwill.
I am often asked how I was able to gather enough threads and interest to weave 49 panels of cloth. I have had to stop and think about my answer. How did this happen? I remember the day Judith said it could take as many as 50,000 threads to weave these cloths. I felt like the miller’s daughter in Rumplestiltskin who had been assigned the task of weaving a roomful of hay into gold. I told my friends Sue and Trisha that I might be gathering threads for the next 47 years!
Then something began to happen. One person told another and they, in turn, told others. I think the answer to spreading the word rests in the power of doubling and exponential numbers. In several mathematical folktales, involving a single grain of rice (which is as modest as a thread) each of the protagonists asks for what seems a small reward, a single grain of rice to be doubled each day. Herein lies the power of doubling numbers. By the 64th day, the number of grains of rice would equal 9 quintillion, 223 quadrillion, 372 trillion, 36 billion, 854 million, 775 thousand, 8 hundred and 8. By the 17th day, more than 50,000 grains of rice (or threads) could be acquired, according to the folktale and mathematical equations.
It took us way longer than 17 days, but not nearly 47 years! So the moral of the story is: Don’t ever doubt the power of one plus one. If you have been given a thread to follow and the passion to follow it, believe it is more than possible to reach your goal. Believe that one voice matters; that one idea counts; that a single act can impact the world.
The six degrees of separation theory posits that anyone on earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of five acquaintances. While scientists continue to research this theory, I offer my own anecdotal evidence. People often ask me: How do you collect threads and find weavers throughout the world? The first time I was asked this question, I had to stop and think about it. How did we accomplish this feat? I realized that, usually, after a chain of five or six intermediaries (someone who knew someone) we would find what we were looking for. And so news and word of the project has spread around the globe.
You may remember, in my last journal entry, I wrote that I had been hoping to locate weavers in Africa. Two years ago that dream seemed remote. Yet, as I began to follow each possibility that presented itself, I seemed to be following a thread, leading me ever closer to the goal. In the process, I encountered my version of the six degrees of separation: One person read our web site and sent a link to a friend. The friend contacted us saying she had a friend who knew someone who worked in Africa. That person, in turn, knew a teacher in Africa, who knew a weaver. More time and e-mails passed until, finally, one day, many months later, I was given an actual name and address of a weaver in Africa. I contacted her and found out that, yes, she would be happy to weave one of our panels!
It is with joy and jubilation that I announce that we will have THREE panels woven in Africa, one each in Ghana, Lesotho and South Africa. The addition of these weavers has allowed us to reach our goal of having one panel woven on every continent (except Antarctica, but we do have threads from there). I thought it was important that the cloths be woven in different parts of the world. Just as the seven continents come together to create one world, the seven cloths will come together to create one World Cloth. Because someone knows someone, who knows someone else, threads have been collected from tens of thousands of people in approximately 70 countries and woven by weavers living in: Afghanistan, Africa, Australia, Canada, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, India, Hungary, the United Kingdom and the United States.
It seems we have not only created a weaving of threads, but a weaving of people, who are connected to one another. In addition to securing the weavers from Africa, we also have succeeded in gathering ALL of the 49 weavers needed to complete the project. I am grateful to the people: who acted as intermediaries and spread the word, who sent threads, and who volunteered to weave our panels. This truly has been a global initiative.
I now have the difficult task of turning weavers away. Also, by late spring 2006, we no longer will be collecting threads. We need only enough threads to complete the last two panels. All the remaining threads will be used, however; those not woven into the panels will be tied end to end and wound into a large, earth-like ball and will accompany the cloths when they are exhibited. These accomplishments bring an end to Phase I and Phase II of the Project. Phase III will now focus on readying the cloths for exhibition. I am not sure where the cloths will be exhibited or where their final home will be, but I know someone who knows someone, so it will be exciting to see where that thread leads!
Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible. — M.K. Gandhi
How can the impossible materialize into the possible? Sometimes I stand, scratching my head, at the crossroad between Impossible and Possible, trying to decide which path to take. The impossible path usually looks the easier of the two because – well – if something is impossible, you don’t have to try very hard. The only problem with the impossible route is that it never takes me where I really want to go.
On the other hand, choosing what might be possible could lead me to a dead-end. Or, I might be ridiculed for being a fool-hardy optimist. Fortunately, with the help of my fifty-sixth birthday, I have decided that there are worse things than encountering a dead end or being deemed a fool. Now, when I find myself stalled at the crossroad, I unfold my trusty map, the one drawn by wise, compassionate, optimistic and sometimes fool-hardy individuals who have courageously chosen the possible path; individuals who have made a difference in the world; individuals who, like Gandhi, believe the impossible is ever becoming possible.
In the course of this project, I have faced numerous doubts which have paraded as impossibilities: How will you ever gather threads from tens of thousands of strangers world-wide? You’re not even a weaver; how will you find weavers? Exhibit your World Cloths at the UN; are you kidding? Several of these impossibilities have materialized into possibility, some still remain to be explored.
In my last journal entry, I mentioned that we were looking for weavers in Australia and Africa, and a thread from Antarctica. I didn’t know if these requests were possible, but I decided to set my foot on the path toward possibility…
Originally, I had assumed that acquiring a thread from Antarctica would be impossible. I found myself saying and accepting: We have collected threads from every continent, EXCEPT Antarctica, of course. But then a wise friend, holding a possibility map, looked me in the eye and asked: “Why would a thread from Antarctica be impossible to acquire? People visit there.” She did have a point. Sure enough, when I began to believe that a thread from Antarctica might be possible, I came across an article written by travel writer Sharon Spence Leib, who had visited the icy continent.
I contacted Sharon to ask if she would give us a thread that had visited Antarctica, maybe a piece of her clothing. Sharon mentioned her navy blue socks, the ones she had worn inside her rubber boots, trekking with the penguins. She was amused that I actually wanted her socks, and promised me they were clean. We cut off several thin strips which will be woven into the last World Cloth called Sophia’s Mantle. The World Cloths will now be woven with threads collected from all seven continents – NO EXCEPTIONS!
When I asked Sharon what motivated her to travel to Antarctica, she said she had wanted to see if she could finish what Captain James Cook began in 1773-1774. Cook attempted to explore Antarctica three times but had to turn back because, according to his journal, “An unbroken field of sea ice deters our ship.” Cook had tried the possible and come to a dead end. Still, his attempts, over two hundred years ago, inspired Sharon to try. Her trip was challenging, too, but not impossible, even with 70mph winds, waves 55 feet high and seasickness. Sharon said standing on the stark White Continent, taking in the penguins, ancient glaciers and sapphire icebergs, was utterly captivating. That’s not surprising when you consider that the view, at the end of the possible, is often spectacular! (If you would like to see a picture of Sharon holding her trusty navy socks, we have added a snapshot in the Photo Album.)
In addition to receiving a thread from Antarctica, another possibility opened. We were connected by e-mail with a Weavers Forum in Australia. Within a week, we acquired four talented weavers who are now part of The Thread Project team. Vera Hazelgrove works in her studio in the garden of her home in Adelaide, where both she and her seeing-eye dog Karley reside. Karen Madigan, from Old Bar, says she will be weaving words, stories, music and poetry into her panel. Maryann Stamford is scheduling a “dyeing day” in her studio in Melaney, allowing the local community to dye threads that will be used as weft and woven into her panel. And Gail Campbell in Beeliar plans to involve The Western Australian Handweavers, Spinners and Dyers Guild in weaving her panel.
This time around, some seemingly impossible scenarios became possible. I realize there are no guarantees. I am still looking for a weaver in Africa; I still hope to exhibit the cloths at the United Nations; and I hope to gift the cloths to an organization that will tour them internationally. Impossible? Maybe. But I have my map and I am trekking down the path to see what I can see.
I found this definition of the word summer in the dictionary: a period of fruition, fulfillment, happiness or beauty. This definition seems appropriate to describe where we are in The Thread Project; I believe we are in the summer cycle, the time of growth, abundance and flowering.
We are experiencing a period of tremendous fruition, weaving will soon begin on the sixth World Cloth Lienzo Luminoso (Cloth of Light). This yellow cloth will be woven during the season when the days are the longest. Yellow signifies light, life and radiance. It is the color of ripening corn, saffron, squash blossoms and sun flowers. Weaving Lienzo Luminoso will be a testament to the life-giving power of light to bring forth fruit from the tiniest of seeds, planted in darkness.
To date, 37 weavers from four continents have volunteered their time and talent to each weave a panel for one of the World Cloths . In the beginning, The Thread Project contacted weavers about weaving for us; today, weavers are contacting us. The dream of weaving thousands of threads into a social fabric that celebrates diversity, encourages tolerance and promotes compassionate community is being fulfilled on a daily basis.
And now the dream is expanding. We hope that at least one panel can be woven on each of the continents; okay, maybe not Antarctica! But, if you are a weaver in Australia or Africa, or you know of a weaver on either of those two continents, please tell them about The Thread Project.
Now about Antarctica….While locating a weaver in Antarctica is unlikely, it may be possible to collect a thread that has “traveled” to Antarctica; or at least to collect a thread from a person who has been to Antarctica. If we receive a thread that has any connection to Antarctica, however remote, even if it comes from the friend of a friend who visited Antarctica, I will write about it in one of the upcoming Journal Updates. Securing a thread from the icy continent would be fulfilling indeed!
Happiness is often going to the mailbox and finding letters and threads from people around the world. Even when I have a long To-Do List, which is often, I find myself being drawn to curl up in a comfortable chair, with my glass of iced tea, to read the letters explaining the threads people send. This month’s mail box included some very interesting stories. Here is just a sampling.
The fishing line and loon feather give me a lot of memories of fishing in the evening. Suddenly a loon call echoes across the peaceful bay. I love it when I look across the bay and see a loon swimming around leaving tiny ripples behind it. I also love it when I slowly start reeling in and “tap,tap,” a fish grabs my hook. Being outdoors is a big part of my life. ~ Shooma
The bees-waxed cotton thread is from an awl – my beloved tool which I’ve used countless times to mend “broken ties.” It has given new life to things when all seemed lost! ~ George
This piece of yarn comes from a wall hanging made by the Guambianos, a group of people native to Colombia who live in a small town in the Valle del Cauca in Colombia called Silva. ~ Wendy
This string comes from our brother John’s homemade “moose-calling” can. He loved to moose hunt. He passed away on December 16, 2003, after a courageous battle with cancer. This string is in his memory. ~ Cindy
I didn’t come prepared with a thread. So I just took my shirt off and ripped this strip from it. That’s so you know I would take the shirt off my back to contribute to the peace and healing of our community. ~ Mario
Our thread is made from napkins that our family and friends wiped their faces on in celebrating our wedding. Any food residue symbolizes how eating brings us together. ~ Paul & Jenny (P.S. we washed them!)
There are hundreds of letters like these. Some make me smile, others make me want to cry, but all of them give me a glimpse into the precious gift of the human experience. Reading the letters opens my heart, every single time; and when my heart opens, I feel a kinship with every person who sends a thread. The fact that people want to become part of a cloth, woven for the world, is a happy realization.
The fifth cloth, Dawn Looming, is a shimmering tangerine orange. It is beautiful, like the first rays of dawn yawning across the morning sky. All the cloths are beautiful, each a different color of the color spectrum: purple, indigo, red, green, orange, yellow and the last cloth will be blue. Beautiful things have been woven into the cloths: beads, feathers, animal fur, even violin music. For her thread, Neva chose reel to reel tape that was recorded with the violin music of her father. Weaving together music, art, animals, threads, people…it creates beauty for the eyes and beauty for the soul. (If you would like to see a picture of Neva and the tape, click on the Photo Album)
Approximately two years ago, the first threads of The Thread Project were woven into a panel of Hope Materializing. Today, twenty-three panels have been woven in five countries. With twenty-six more panels to weave, the project is at its mid-point. I did not dream, at the beginning of this journey of collecting and weaving threads, that I would be offered a glimpse into the private worlds of so many people. Let me assure you, in these times of unrest and turmoil, there is an abundance of human compassion and caring alive and well in the world.
As I begin another year, filling yet another Thread Project Notebook with the notes and letters that have been sent, I realize I am the recipient of an unexpected gift. Like the Greek fate Clotho, I have come to see that every thread that comes to us represents the tale of a human life. The threads represent the depth and breadth of the human experience with all of its complexities, sorrows and joys.
Not long ago I received what I call my Michael letters. They both came within weeks of each other. The first letter was from a Michael who was incarcerated and in solitary confinement. Michael had read an article in Spirituality and Health Magazine about the Thread Project and wrote to ask if we might select a thread on his behalf to add to one of the World Cloths. He said he wanted to feel a part of a larger community, something he missed being in solitary confinement. So I braided together seven threads using the colors of the rainbow. And since Michael said he had not seen the moon in many years, I took the threads outside into the moonlight.
A week or so later, I received another letter. This letter was filled with the anguish of a mother who wrote to say her twenty-something son, Michael, had been murdered some years ago. She, too, had read the same article and wanted to find a thread that belonged to her Michael to add to the cloth, to become a part of something larger. She said she was surprised that it took her so long to find a piece of him she could part with. She had enclosed a shoe lace from one of Michael's tennis shoes.
Moved by both letters, I placed the two threads side by side on my desk. I was struck by the width of the chasm between them. Should I tie them together, these two Michaels? I thought about the name of the next World Cloth, Weaving Reconciliation. I also thought about why I personally have devoted the better part of the last three years to this project. I realized it is because I believe so strongly that we humans can and must learn to live in compassionate community with one another. I believe it is possible for us to reach down, deep inside, and pull up the best we have to offer to one another. I give my time because I believe the divides between us can be reconciled.
I fingered the shoe lace, as a way of asking this Michael if it would be okay to tie his thread to the thread of the other Michael. I wanted to honor him, his memory and his mother. I decided to trust the timing of the two threads. So I tied them reverently together as a prayer for healing the brokenness in our world. Their threads will be woven into a panel of Weaving Reconciliation.
Every thread in the World Cloths has a tale to tell about the human life it represents. We are weaving a tapestry from the threads people send, and we are trying to weave across the divides that separate us one from another.
Fall marks the time that daylight shortens and night lengthens; it's a time of celebrating the harvest and reflecting on the fruits and labors of the preceding year. It is an appropriate time to reflect on The Thread Project's abundant harvest in 2004. It's been a busy and most productive year. In addition to weaving cloth, we have also been weaving community.
The first cloth Hope Materializing has been exhibited in Florida, South Carolina and Colorado. The second cloth Threaded Harmony is complete and awaiting the necessary adjustments and fittings to ready it for hanging. As word spreads through newspaper articles and other media, we are hearing from more and more people across the country (and the seas) who learn about the project and want to become involved.
Currently, preparations are underway for completing our third World Cloth Ariadne's Prayer. Panels are being woven in a village in India; at a fall festival in Poros, Greece; by a school in Florida; by a group of friends and weavers in New Jersey, by a group of Hmong women in Minnesota, and by an artist in South Carolina. (We still need to locate one more weaver to complete the third cloth.)*
The name Ariadne's Prayer comes from the Greek myth of Ariadne, a heroine/goddess, who presented the hero Theseus a clew of thread, to help him retrace his steps out of the Cretan Labyrinth. Theseus was, in essence, led out of darkness by a thread, much like an umbilical cord. Ariadne's Prayer symbolizes the hope that humanity is following its own umbilical cord, leading from a maze of polarizing paradigms into a world of community and solidarity.
Threads may seem meager messengers, but as the World Cloths take shape and grow in size and number, they point to the magnitude of one simple act, repeated over and over. One solitary individual reaching out and connecting with another solitary individual, that is how we weave the web of life.
*If you know of other experienced weavers, including those who live outside the United States, interested in weaving one 2 x 7 foot panel, please pass on our web site and ask them to contact us at Threads@threadproject.com. Thus far, 20 weavers have volunteered their time and talent. (Learn more about them by clicking http://www.threadproject.com/asp/weavers.asp) Many of the weavers have helped dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of others to weave one or two rows of their panel.
A photograph of the completed World Cloth Hope Materializing can be seen and enlarged on the home page. This beautiful cloth, which has been woven from individual threads from around the world, will be proudly displayed at the Colorado Springs Airport this summer. We have added a new page (Exhibits) to the web site which will detail where the different cloths and panels will be on display as they are finished over the next several years.
These cloths are teaching me more about the art of caring. As each cloth is woven with the names and stories of all who have contributed, it becomes a mantle of sorts that enfolds the heart. Time and again it seems to be the stories which touch me and the hearts of all who see the cloth; each thread is imprinted with a life, like the child who offered the collar of his beloved pet who died, the woman who sent a piece of fabric woven by a leper in one of Mother Teresa's leper colonies in Calcutta, the man who offered a piece of string from his favorite guitar. We are weaving more than cloth; we are weaving unity and compassion. Opening our hearts to the story of another is what compassion is all about.
If you want to hear more stories about the Thread Project: One World, One Cloth, the Hallmark Channel will be airing a short segment about the project on Wednesday, June 9 and repeating it again on Wednesday, July 28 on their New Morning show www.newmorningtv.tv . Also, if you would like to read how the idea of The Thread Project began with a single thread and grew into an international project, the July/August issue of Spirituality and Health Magazine www.spiritualityhealth.com will include an article about the project called "Materialize Your Visions."
Currently, the seven panels of the second World Cloth Threaded Harmony are being woven across the United States in very public settings. In Winona, MN hundreds of people, many of them school children, gathered to tie on threads and help Weaver Carolyn Collins and English teacher Margaret Kiihne weave a panel for Threaded Harmony. The school children also helped to weave permanent banners that will hang in the school as part of the project. The Winona school gathered threads from their sister school in Japan.
In Erie, PA over 1,300 students in 60 classrooms have tied on threads as part of the Kindness Project which asks children to do a kindness as well as tying on a thread that will be sent to The Thread Project. On May 15, 2004 weaver Robin Hurd assisted others in the public weaving of a panel of Threaded Harmony at the Raymond Blasco Memorial Library In Erie. The completed red panel will be on display until June 1, 2004.
In San Juan Island, WA, weaver Evelyn Bunting Tuller www.moonbeamweavers.com will show her loom warped with the red yarn of Threaded Harmony at her Moon & Sixpence Studio. Then, during the August 2004 San Juan County Fair, Evelyn will collect thread from fair-goers as she weaves one of the panels for the second World Cloth.
In the fall, a group of Hmong women have been invited to weave one of the panels of the third World Cloth called Ariadne's prayer. As the project continues on, I am continually buoyed by the enthusiasm and goodwill of all who participate. In the midst of such world angst, I am heartened to know our planet abounds with people who promote the art of caring. If everyone, who cares deeply, were to send a thread, I believe we could weave a mantle large enough to enfold us all!
One down, six to go! I'm excited to announce the first World Cloth, Hope Materializing, is complete. The seventh panel just arrived from Guatemala where it was woven by several Mayan weavers on a back-strap loom. Check out the latest photos in the Photo Album.
Plans are now underway to begin weaving the second World Cloth, Threaded Harmony. The warp color for this cloth is red which symbolizes life, passion and joy. UKI has graciously donated the warp thread for both the first and second cloths. Individual threads continue to be sent from around the world. Please keep them coming. The collected threads are being tied together and rolled into balls which are given to different weavers to use as the weft thread to weave each 7 x 2 foot panel. It is humbling to realize that every thread represents the life and goodwill of one person. This amazing cloth is becoming representative of thousands of people worldwide.
Now that the first cloth has been completed, we will be pursuing venues to exhibit individual cloths (seven panels each) while the others are being woven over the next several years. The ultimate goal is still to display the cloths at the United Nations when they are completed. I would love to see all 49 panels hanging in a circle that could be viewed from both the inside, as well as outside, the circle. A most fitting symbol of world unity.
To add to the symbolism of unity through diversity, clay artist Susan Ryles is in the process of designing oversized clay buttons to attach the panels together, making the panels interchangeable. The beauty of the World Cloths is their versatility and their capability to grow into 49 panels. Since the name of the first cloth is Hope Materializing, Susan plans to etch the word hope in various languages from around the globe into the buttons. You can learn more about Susan in Special Thanks.
As we approach 2004, may the threads of hope, joy and love be woven into your life and the new year.
It's exciting to realize that every thread we receive represents one person. So, when thousands of threads arrive, we know lots of people are becoming part of the Thread Project: One World, One Cloth. We are ahead of schedule. Four panels of the first World Cloth Hope Materializing are completed and the last three panels are scheduled to be woven this month. In addition, preparations are underway to begin weaving the second cloth before the end of the year. Now that the first cloth is nearing completion, inquiries are being made about publicly displaying the cloth. Sometime in 2004 the first cloth will make its public debut. (More international involvement is necessary before approaching the United Nations.) While we do not know the origin of every thread or the person who sends one, we have documented that over 40 countries are represented thus far, and all but seven states of the United States. (If you or someone you know lives in AR, IN, KS, RI, SD, WV or WY, please send a thread and we will include your state on the list.)
Since much of our success is due to the efforts of Thread Ambassadors everywhere, it seems most appropriate to recognize a few of our ambassadors in this journal update. We are grateful to the many, many Thread Ambassadors who have been collecting threads and spreading the vision of the Thread Project: One World, One Cloth. All Thread Ambassadors are welcomed, and more are needed from countries outside the United States. We regret that it is impossible to recognize each and every ambassador, so please consider this a personal thank you for your efforts.
The most thread gathered thus far into single ball comes from Thread Ambassador Patti Fowler (see her photo in the photo album). Patti organized an end-of-the-year school celebration combining acts of kindness with collecting threads from approximately 500 elementary students in Edinboro, PA. Thirty volunteers were on hand to help. In each classroom, students spoke about an act of kindness they had carried out as they tied their threads together, creating a circle big enough to include everyone (portion of exercise can be found in suggestions). Then each classroom joined their threads together, carrying the long line of thread into the parking lot where the students formed a huge spiral.
Lisa sent thread from over 300 participants in the St. Paul, MN area. Brecia gathered threads from school children and a Fiber Arts Guild in Santa Barbara. She wrote: One class wrote peace messages on the cloth and members of the guild brought in threads with personal significance and shared their stories at the monthly meetings. Sandy sent threads from a group of female offenders saying: You will see that this ball of thread for the project is a circle. The women wanted to send it this way. Maybe because I had us sit in a circle and told the women there is nothing wiser than a circle. Jamie sent threads from a homeless shelter. Erin traveled to other countries and gathered threads. She picked up a shredded piece of fabric on the Killing Fields in Cambodia saying I offer this thread in the memory of all who died there.
Cathie took the Thread Project into a 4th grade class and wrote down the students feelings about participating in the project. Here's what several of the children had to say: It [this project] is important to me because my thread could change the world. I think this is special because I do not want any more wars, battles or terrorist attacks--Chris; This is cool because we are going to be part of this.--Alexandria; This is important to me because it makes the world a better place and it makes everybody united. Another thing is that people will see beautiful colors like they never seen before. The last thing is it makes you feel happy!"--Nick
Nick is right. Receiving the threads and hearing all of these stories makes me feel happy. Very, very happy!
We now have completed three panels of the first World Cloth which has been titled Hope Materializing. And materializing it is! Three additional panels (for a total of six) are scheduled to be woven this summer.
In early March, weaver Sarah Hendershot-Simpson wove the second panel. She observed, “I became increasingly aware of each thread as I wove. If I did not know the story [about the thread], I imagined one. It is so easy in this day and age to grow desensitized to the world around us; yet if we each took a moment to simply listen to each other’s personal story, we would all find common ground. The World Cloth stands for the commonality we all share as humans.”
Sarah is right. Hope Materializing is a tapestry of our humanity. It is a symbol that projects the hope and goodwill of thousands world-wide. Perhaps, the best one-word description of the cloth comes from two junior high school students who, after tying on their threads, fingered one of the panels and chimed, “Awesome!” Awesome indeed--to see people carefully and purposefully tying their individual thread to others as a symbol of global unity.
Earlier this month, The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth participated in a week-long conference in Atlanta on conflict resolution, mediation and multi-culturalism. Our interactive exhibit, complete with loom, was visited by people of all ages and nationalities. During the conference, hundreds of participants tied their threads together and more than 150 learned how to weave those threads into cloth. The “weavers” included dozens of children from local schools, and conference members from Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, England, India, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, the United States, and Uruguay.
Our youngest weaver was 6-month old Mackenzie. (Admittedly, she had a little help from her mom and grandmother.) Mackenzie’s thread was cut from the pink outfit she wore home from the hospital where she was born. Check out her photograph and several others from the conference in the photo album.
“Looming” ahead, one of the panels will be woven in Guatemala on a backstrap loom by Maya weavers during an annual weaving celebration in July, as part of the town fiesta in Santiago Atitlan. This was arranged through the Cojolya Association which works with Maya women weavers to preserve the ancient art of backstrap loom weaving. If you are interested in learning more about this technique or organization visit their web site at http://www.cojolya.org/
A heartfelt thanks to all of the Thread Ambassadors and to those who have sent a thread. As long as the threads keep coming, we can continue weaving. For those interested in collecting threads in an adult group or primary school setting, you will find new and detailed information under Participation .
Inaugural Weaving Ceremony
Last month, in Atlanta, guests encircled the loom of weaver Judith Krone for the Inaugural Weaving Ceremony of the first World Cloth. Though it was the shortest day of the year, windowed sunlight fell upon the deep purple threads warped on the loom. Expectancy permeated the air, and the loom, resembling a giant stringed instrument, stood ready for its solo performance. Each of us prepared to witness, and even partake in, the timeless mystery of turning a thousand threads into one cloth. (See pictures in Photo Album.)
We began by reading some of the “stories” of the various threads that have been gathered from around the world this past year: a worn ribbon from the Ukraine, grasses from Africa, colored yarn from Greece, pink ribbons from breast cancer survivors, a synthetic hair extension from an African-American artist, lace crocheted in 1930, a shoe string, some fishing line, a strip from a World War II parachute, a piece of someone’s tie, a thread from a baseball glove, etc. It became apparent that each thread reflected some aspect of a life, hope, intention or prayer of another human being. Those stories, mixed with our own story, created an alchemy of hope in the room. If the alchemist’s pursuit was to turn lead into gold, ours was to turn threads into cloth. Diversity into unity. And that is exactly what happened.
After blessing the threads with water brought from St. Bridget’s well in Ireland (said to be an inspiration to weavers), we asked that the goodwill, represented in each thread, would infuse the entire cloth. Judith began to pass the shuttle back and forth across the loom, leaving a wake of cloth behind. It became apparent why weaving and birth are often metaphors for one another. The loom, acting as womb, bore a child of cloth before our very eyes. If we humans even come close to mastering the art of creating such a oneness amidst our diversity, the resulting cloth will be miraculous. Our fabric was no less awesome. Lace, ribbons, yarn, all came together to create a beautiful, bold fabric–a World Cloth. It was, and continues to be, a cloth made by and from people all around the world.
Each person present wove one or more rows of the World Cloth. It became an interactive process. Even after the threads were woven together, I and others could recognize and pick out certain threads: part of Jake’s baby blanket, some threads from Ireland, a baby’s shoe lace, three batik strips representing an artist’s family. Individual parts making up one lovely whole.
Alas, the short day ended. But each of us left with a vision. That each thread of the human family can be woven together into a strong, bold and beautiful tapestry. Even in the midst of the darkest times, our lone, single threads can work their way into something mighty and wonderful.
We plan to begin weaving the second panel of the first World Cloth sometime this spring. Please encourage others to send threads. We have a long way to go before we reach our goal of making seven cloths (up to 49 panels).
Fibers of many sorts and colors continue to arrive. I was especially touched by Mona’s contribution of 22 separate threads important to her immediate family which included a strip of fabric taken from the native garment of her adopted daughter from Vietnam, a piece of shirt that she tore into "tree-prayer-tags" during her husband's cancer journey, a tassel from a woven blanket that her paternal grandmother brought with her on a boat from Poland, and wool from one of the alpacas raised on her family’s "Terra Sacra" farm. Mona wrote, "It was a remarkable experience collecting my threads. Thank you for the deep treasure they brought me to.”
To Mona and all who have sent threads, we would like to say it is a remarkable experience to receive your threads. All of us at The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth feel awed by the many humble threads so carefully and lovingly sent. (For more stories about individual threads see Story Threads)
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Our first sponsor UKI has generously donated all of the warp thread for the first World Cloth. For those who are unfamiliar with weaving, two types of thread are needed to weave--warp thread and weft thread. The warp threads (which UKI donated) are stationary and are individually tied to the loom. The weft thread (which we are making by tying the thousands of collected threads together and forming the Unity Thread) is the single thread that weaves back and forth connecting all of the warp threads to make cloth.
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In April, The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth has been invited to participate in the Atlanta 2003 Conference & Expo, Weaving the Future of Peacemaking, sponsored by Peaceweb: A Network of Communities for Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution (NCPCR) www.apeacemaker.net. Hopefully, the first section of the first World Cloth (each finished cloth will have seven sections) will be completed and on display at the conference, possibly for the first time.
Keep those threads coming!
At last! We have collected enough threads to begin weaving the first panel of the first World Cloth. Careful consideration has been given to the scheduled start date of December 21, 2002, the shortest day of the year. It seems appropriate to begin weaving a cloth of hope during the time of year when each day begins to linger a minute longer than the day before. As the World Cloth lengthens with the days, capturing more light within its fibers, it symbolically illuminates the process of weaving diversity into unity. Thousands of hands have stroked and held the threads being woven. Hopefully, the tenderness and thoughtfulness behind each thread offering will inspire hope, healing and peace in the hearts of those who gaze upon the World Cloths.
Closer to the December date, you will be invited to join others world-wide in lighting a candle and offering a world prayer, as the first threads begin to materialize into cloth.
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People continue to ask if it is too late to send threads. Absolutely not. The Thread Project: One World, One Cloth is a work in progress. It may take up to three years, maybe more, to make all seven cloths. It depends on the length of time it takes to gather the needed threads. Even though more threads arrive each week, I would like to offer a challenge. In order to make this project as diverse as possible, threads are needed from around the world- from famous cities to small towns and villages. If you live in or travel to one of these areas, please consider inviting several individuals to tie some fibers together and send them to me. (For information on how to send threads go to the instructions page)
I must rely on others to contribute threads; I can only midwife the threads. By that I mean I can tie the collected threads together, take them to the weavers, and display the fabric the weavers create. But, the building block to the whole project is a single thread. So small, but so important! Without it- and you- there could be no World Cloth. As the collection of thread grows, I realize the importance of small acts. One modest thread, one small act of kindness, one single prayer - they begin to add up over time to create something amazingly large and wonderful!
Thank you for your interest, and keep the threads coming!
Terry Helwig, Founder