We were happy to talk today with Bianca DiBiase, a student at Ryerson University, who helped us early in the documentary by interviewing Surayia while she was visiting in Toronto.

“This year, I was honored to receive two journalism awards for my feature article ‘The Accidental Saint,’ which profiles the life and artwork of Surayia Rahman.

The first award was the Betty Michalyshyn Memorial Scholarship for outstanding achievement in cultural journalism. The second was the Multicom Media Award, which recognizes a student who has produced and published a substantial news story or feature of merit in the community or diversity field. ‘The Accidental Saint’ was published online in HAND/EYE magazine last year.

It was truly an amazing experience to meet Surayia and learn her story. I’m so happy I had the opportunity to capture her life in written form and share her story with others.”

Congratulations to Bianca and all best wishes to her as she starts her career.

You will enjoy reading this article from the Dhaka Daily Star magazine about Ruby Ghuznavi, founder of Aranya, pioneer of natural dyes and and one of  — if not the — strongest supporters of Bangladeshi craft.  I blogged about Aranya on January 18.

It is so great to see Ruby receive recognition in the press for her work over the years!

Cover of "KANTHA"

Cover of "KANTHA"

Darielle Mason’s Kantha:
The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection and the Stella Kramrisch Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
is the recipient of the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award  – a 2011 Award of Distinction of the College Art Association.  
Congratulations to Darielle Mason and contributors Pika Ghosh, Katherine Hacker, Anne Peranteau and Niaz Zaman! 

“…acute insights into an important region and an understudied medium” 

“…for the first time, a comprehensive, sensitive treatment to this form of women’s domestic, creative, and social expression”

It was great fun working with the Patti and her great staff at Harbor Quilt in Gig Harbor to display a few of Surayia Rahman’s nakshi kantha tapestries for the past couple of weeks.  Thanks to Janey of the Gig Harbor Quilt Festival for helping to connect us.

Three of Surayia’s designs on display. Photo: Mindi LaRose

What fun it was for me to visit the shop and browse amongst gorgeous arrays of fabrics, stunning sample quilts and pins and needles that took me back to my childhood.  Local artist Lynn helped out with display panels – all stemming from a conversation we had at a New Year’s fest with volunteers of the Gig Harbor Film Festival.  The Peninsula Gateway featured a full page on Surayia and doc-in-progress Threads and Mindi took photos. A real community effort to help raise awareness for the incredible work – based on the Bengali quilting tradition – that continues to flow from talented women in Bangladesh.

Whether in Bangladesh or in our small community in the United States, women come together to stitch, create, tell stories, play with color, and – in some cases – make a living.   Threads connect us all.