The World Wide Weave – What is it?
Contributed by Peter Bateson, Camphill Foundation U.K. & Ireland and Exhibition Curator
After more than a year of preparation, the World Wide Weave Exhibition has become a reality. The project involves hundreds of people all over the Camphill Movement in 19 nations and regions, with contributions created by 61 communities in Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Ireland, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Russia, USA, Canada, South Africa, India, and Vietnam. Some places produced more than one, and the exhibition also includes a number of special pieces contributed by individuals. The 75 panels celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Camphill Movement which began on June 1, 1940 when the first small group of pioneers moved into Camphill House by the River Dee near Aberdeen.
The World Wide Weave is an artistic endeavor, meant to be appreciated and enjoyed as such, but it also carries with it at least four messages. First of all, it embodies the principle of Unity in Diversity. Despite their huge variation in size, location, and task, and the incredibly rich mix of people who constantly interweave their lives and destinies in the network of Camphill communities, they all have the same set of core principles at heart. The exhibition expresses all the wonderfully varied and diverse characteristics of single communities coming together in one great artistic panorama of Camphill.
Secondly, the exhibition carries a fundamental statement of equality regarding the potential of people with learning disabilities. The weavers, felters, tapestry-makers, and embroiderers are artists and artisans in their own right and can place their work alongside that of mainstream artists and craftspeople.
A third element is that different individuals in a group have collaborated on a single piece of art, each contributing what they could towards the finished work. This has been a major feature in the development of the World Wide Weave. It has been a renewed experience of community cooperation and an example of social weaving along with the actual textile work. Many other people have also been involved in those pieces which incorporate other materials such as pottery, metal, and wood, bringing together different workshops active in the community.
And fourth, most of the communities have used entirely home produced and recycled materials in the World Wide Weave. A few of the exhibits are composed almost entirely of recycled materials. Caring for our natural resources, recycling, and renewal is a special theme that runs throughout the exhibition. The response to the exhibition from the general public has been extremely warm and positive. As one visitor expressed it, “the best thing of all is that it so clearly comes from a living experience of community, and that’s something that we all need nowadays.”
The Camphill Foundation World Wide Weave Exhibition is coming to Historic Yellow Springs. This extraordinary show will open June 1 and continue through July 6. This is the first time the exhibition will be in the United States and will only be exhibited in Pennsylvania and in New York.
Historic Yellow Springs, located at 1685 Art School Road, Chester Springs, Pa., is free and open to the public daily from 10 am to 4 pm.
For more information on this exhibit, visit http://camphillfoundation.net/world-wide-weave/world-wide-weave/.