Wrap Your Head Around It in the Greenhouse

JAN 24, 2015 updated May 27, 2021

Early in January, we were delighted to have the lovely folks from Threads, a local sewing group, and friends from Spoonflower here in the Greenhouse, our classroom and community space here at our Durham HQ, to participate in a silk scarf sew-in for the Wrap Your Head Around It project. Wrap Your Head Around It is a community action project led by artist Peg Gignoux that integrates writing about the heroic journey of fighting cancer into wearable textiles.

The goal of this effort is to create 200 handmade scarves featuring the words of patients who have participated in a series of writing workshops to describe their experiences with cancer. The project has been fully funded via Kickstarter, writing workshops are complete, and Peg and her team of local textile artists, the Threads group, used the Greenhouse to start stitching the first batch of scarves.


Doris Ann Price, a participant in the Wrap Your Head Around It writing workshops led by poet Grey Brown, attended the sew-in and received a finished scarf featuring her poetry. The scarf, a collaboration between four women, embodies the spirit of this project. It also made a perfect accessory for Doris Ann's ensemble, which was topped with a button proclaiming "Cancer Sucks.

Doris Ann wears the scarf created from her own poetry about her experience of livng with cancer.

Doris Ann's poem, composed during a Wrap-sponsored writing workshop at a local cancer ward, was transcribed by textile artist Kaola Phoenix, digitally rendered by artist Brooke Heuts, printed by Spoonflower, and then sewn into a beautiful and functional scarf by Peg. The presentation of the finished scarf marked a special moment when all parties invovled in creating the finished project were together in the same room.

 Brooke, Kaola, Peg and Doris Ann wearing scarves created from Doris Ann's poem.

Videographer Brandon Yow was here to document this sew-in as part of the Wrap Your Head Around It process. He is currently working on a documentary that will not only record this community effort as it unfolds across the Triangle, but the finished film will also serve as a resource for organizers in other areas who are interested in spearheading a similar effort wherever they may be. He set up his studio in our lobby to capture the thoughts of the team involved in creating Doris Ann's scarf.

Brooke, Doris Ann, and Kaola discuss the collaborative process behind the scarves of Wrap Your Head Around It.

The entire morning saw the Greenhouse abuzz with creativity and color as volunteers designed and assembled one-of-a-kind scarves from hand-dyed silks. This really was an opportunity to see so many apsects of this project come together as panels were sewn and introductions were made. 

Peg and Spoonflower organizer Anitha meet for the first time.

Anitha, a Spoonflower employee and avid crafter-for-good, first connected Peg to the Greenhouse and suggested a collaboration after seeing the Wrap Your Head Around It Kickstarter campaign. Anitha and Peg met in person for the first time over the hum of sewing machines and volunteers chatting. 

Volunteers design as they sew while videographer Brandon Yow gathers documentary footage.

Sewing volunteers from Spoonflower and Threads stitched their own designs from the various-sized pieces of silk provided. Hand- and digitally-printed panels were incorporated into each scarf featuring text from poems composed by patients at local hospitals expressing their experiences of living with cancer. 

 Kaola and Peg search through containers of dyed silk for the perfect coordinates.

 River seams panels together on her unique creation.
 
Brooke's own hand-printed panel stands out in the bright blues and yellows of this scarf.
 
 The final step–sewing the scarves closed by hand. What precision! 
 No two alike, the finished scarves on display for others to admire.
 
The scarves finished in this project symbolize so much more than a finished accessory–they speak to the community of people who have made this ambitious project of expression and healing possible. Stitching together the creative threads of so many outlets, from writing to dyeing to printing, Wrap Your Head Around It boldly takes on the task of giving shape to the heroic journey of fighting cancer, one beautifully colorful scarf at a time.
 
If you are interested in learning more about this project, please do check out the Kickstarter hub for Wrap Your Head Around It or contact organizer Peg Gignoux. The scarves created for the Wrap Your Head Around It project will be on display at the FRANK Gallery in Chapel Hill, NC from March 10-March 22, 2015, with an opening reception on Friday, March 13, from 6-9pm. There will also be a salon featuring poetry readings and discussion about the project on Thursday, March 19 from 6-8pm. 
 
A very special thanks to Peg for inviting us to be a small part of this amazing effort, and especially to those who came out to sew with us in the Greenhouse.
 
 

 

 


 

 

 

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