Barbara Glasson's Story

Author: Barbara Glasson
Barbara Glasson's Story

Barbara Glasson researched communities that are discovering economic regeneration through local enterprise, in particular through weaving.

The Fellowship

Rev. Dr. Barbara Glasson, from Bradford, wanted to engage local women in community-based activities, increasing social encounter and economic independence, thereby helping to regenerate the heart of the neighbourhood. Since weaving used to be a traditional activity in Bradford, she chose to travel to Nepal and Indonesia where weaving is an integral part of the local economy.

In Nepal, Barbara watched Tibetan refugees weaving with back strap looms hooked onto their doorposts; in Bali she learned natural dyeing techniques from the field workers at the Threads of Life Cooperative; and in the very north of India she discovered a Bradford carding machine at the Panchachuli Women's Cooperative.

The Results

Inspired by the enterprising, co-operative and creative work that she had witnessed, Barbara developed a project involving a range of women’s community and faith groups in Bradford and Pakistan.

With Touchstone, an interfaith ‘listening community’ group, she launched Weaving Women’s Wisdom, a project designed to create a new and safe space for interfaith/inter-community dialogue around issues of faith and life. It welcomed 20 diverse groups in Bradford and Pakistan to share stories and skills, with a focus on the common heritage of textiles in Bradford and Pakistani communities. The groups were invited to make a rug and to consider the wise women in their lives as a starting point.

The result was an exhibition of rugs called The Carpet of Wisdom, which showcased communities’ traditional skills and techniques well as some new and innovative designs. The process enabled women to come together in open discussion, allowing them to find their own and a shared voice.

The Carpet of Wisdom toured the UK during 2015 and was exhibited in mosques, churches, cathedrals and schools.