Weaving banner helps bind women's spirits
Florence Loyie, The Edmonton Journal
Published: 2:04 am
EDMONTON - Some 800 delegates at the First World Conference of Women's Shelters have for the past four days shared experiences and often heart-wrenching stories of their struggles to keep women and children safe from violence and abuse.
Each day has ended with wellness sessions to ease their spirits and inspire them to carry on with those struggles, as daunting as they may seem.
They have laughed through yoga, sat on a river bank with writers and poets, been inspired by Olympians and cancer survivors, and weaved a nearly four-metre peace banner as a memento of their time together.
Session leader Cathie Cameron holds up a banner Thursday woven by conference delegates a few inches at a time using the Japanese form of Saori weaving. The banner was presented to the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters. Ed Kaiser, The Journal
The colourful banner, made using the Japanese form of Saori weaving, was presented to the event's organizer, the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters, at a gala dinner Thursday night.
"The idea behind Saori is there are no mistakes. Saori weaving is pure improvisation from the heart with no premeditated pattern in mind," said Cathie Cameron, health promotions co-ordinator with the Canadian Mental Health Association in Nanaimo, B.C., and session leader.
Nearly a quarter of the 800 delegates sat down at the weaving loom to add their inspiration to the piece over the four-day conference.
"Once they get the hang of it, they love it," said Cameron.
Patti McClocklin, with the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters, said the banner is a "lovely legacy" of the conference.
Being a shelter worker takes a hard toll. Listening to the stories of women and children who flee family violence takes energy and it leaves scars.
"I think, overall, people were pleased with the connections they made here, and to have the opportunity to share and speak and to have their voices heard. One shelter worker told me that nobody has ever done anything like this for her before," McClocklin said.
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