Posted by Cathy and Len

One of the most inspiring parts of making Threads has been the opportunity to meet so many remarkable people who were touched by Surayia over the years.  Among the most remarkable are the Sisters of the Holy Cross, who came to Bengal — modern day Bangladesh — with a mission to educate women.  Holy Cross College in Dhaka, one of the schools they founded, remains to this day a premier institution of learning for women.

We were saddened to hear of the recent death of Sister Joseph Mary, formerly head of the College.  We met her in late 2010 when we visited Dhaka doing research for Threads.  Sister Joseph Mary was a wonderful, wise and determined woman who loved Bangladesh and spoke fondly of her memories of Surayia.  She and colleague Sister Perpetua were interviewed on camera by Mishuk Munier, and their insights into Surayia’s life and art helped us immensely as we worked on Threads.

When we visited, Sister Joseph Mary took us on a tour of Holy Cross, showing us the artwork — including some by Surayia — that helps to enrich the learning experience of the young women studying there.  After the tour Anil Advani did a blog post with a photo of Sister Joseph Mary that captures the essence of this unique woman.

Sister returned to the United States from her beloved Bangladesh in 2014.  We were fortunate to be able to make arrangements with the residence where she and Sister Perpetua were living to show them Threads.  Holy Cross Sisters Joseph Mary, Perpetua and Margaret Shield, among others, knew and encouraged Surayia and her children at critical stages in their lives.  Thank you for your selfless devotion!

Sr. Joseph Mary shows Cathy some of the art at Holy College.  Photo by Anil Advani.

Sr. Joseph Mary shows Cathy some of the art at Holy College.   Photo by Anil Advani.

 

 

Posted by: Cathy and Len

Some of the Quilts of Valor at Jubilee Lodge.

Some of the Quilts of Valor at Jubilee Lodge.

Today Americans celebrate Memorial Day, commemorating the sacrifices of those who have died in the service of their country.  We were reminded of  those sacrifices when we recently screened Threads and had a lively discussion about the film at Jubilee, an active adult community in Lacey, Washington.

Just outside of the hall where we showed the film was a very moving display of quilts made by residents of Jubilee for wounded service members at nearby Madigan Army Medical Center.  These “Quilts of Valor” demonstrate the skill and dedication of the makers, and received a certificate of appreciation from the Warrior Transition Battalion at the hospital.

We brought one of Surayia’s nakshi kantha tapestries, “Gypsy Wharf,” for film attendees to examine. Although “Gypsy Wharf” is very different in style and theme from the Quilts of Valor, the quality and diversity of stitching traditions continues to amaze us.  We are always energized by meeting people who, like Surayia and the women of Arshi, turn thread and fabric into visually intricate and wonderful works of art that can warm and help to heal spirit and body.

Thank you to those who have served to make us free and to those whose commitment to others gives hope.

Certificate of Appreciation for the quilts.

Close-up, Quilts of Valor, Jubilee Lodge.

 

 

 

 

Posted by:  Cathy and Len

We will be posting some good news about film festival and other showings of Threads soon.  In the meantime, check out the new trailer for Threads that co-producer Catherine Masud has just completed.  Thank you, Catherine!

Please feel free to share the trailer widely.  If you prefer to watch and share on YouTube, you can see the new trailer here.

Traditional Boat.  Surayia Rahman design.  Photo used with permission.

Traditional Boat. Surayia Rahman design. Photo used with permission.

 

Posted by:  Cathy and Len

We are happy to join people around the world celebrating International Women’s Day March 8.

On this day, we particularly salute women artists who open doors to economic opportunity, preserve culture and foster creativity and community development.   Artisan enterprise today is the second largest employer after agriculture in the developing world, and, as Threads shows, the work of artisans can have a ripple effect, positively impacting the lives of generations.

We encourage everyone to think about handmade goods when making consumer choices and to support living artists whenever possible.  We believe that a world without poverty is possible, and that each of us can make a difference toward this goal.

Surayia and the women she worked with share their skills and together create timeless art. With creativity and determination, they feed and educate their children.  We salute their accomplishments.

 

 

 

Posted by:  Cathy
“Telling Stories,” an exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada (TMC), features a work designed by Surayia Rahman and embroidered by artisans of Arshi in Bangladesh.  This link shows the range of textile art featured in “Telling Stories,” which will be closing January 25th.  This link takes you to Surayia’s work in the Textile Museum, a piece called “Georgian Times,” based on her experiences of life in the last days of the British Raj.  The intricate embroidered stories include tea harvesting, shown in a detail (below) from the TMC website.
If you will be in Toronto before January 25, don’t miss this opportunity to see Surayia’s work on view with other fascinating storytelling textiles.
Tea Harvesting, detail from "Georgian Times." Surayia Rahman design. Photo by Textile Museum of Canada.

Tea Harvesting, detail from “Georgian Times.” Surayia Rahman design. Photo by Textile Museum of Canada.