The Sewing Circle #3: Intercultural needlework

  • Location: Atria/Online
  • Date:
  • Time: 19:30
  • Type: Event
17 Mar The Sewing Circle #3: Intercultural needlework

Ticketsale is closed. 

How are colonial structures still woven into today’s textile production? How has needlework contributed to community building in different parts of the world? And how is community or culture expressed in needlework?

The Sewing Circle (In Dutch: De Naaikrans), organized by the Feminist Needlework Party in collaboration with Atria, is a seminar, spa experience and sewing circle all rolled into. In this third edition of the five-part series, we explore how needlework transmits experiences, records histories and connects people through reading, talking and repairing.

This Sewing Circle is a special English edition. The rest of the series (De Naaikrans) is in Dutch. Find an overview of all the events here (in Dutch).

Attention: This event will take place online. The ticketsale will end 3 hours before the start of the event and then you will also receive the link to the online environment.

Migration has traditionally played an important role in the history of textiles. Think of the Silk Road that has been in use since the 5th century BC for the trade in fabrics. Or the cotton plantations in the colonies where slaves were put to work. Experiences that are bound by time and place are translated into patterns, colors and textures, and find their way all over the world.

In The Sewing Circle #3, various speakers highlight how needlework is used to cope with loss, to pass on stories, to record and connect histories. At the same time, you will learn and practice a repair technique.

Speakers include embroiderer, photographer and collector of traditional Jordanian and Palestinian dresses Fatima Abbadi (talk) and filmmaker, photographer and researcher of Dutch regional costumes Theodoor Johannes. Additionally, a repair technique will be demonstrated.

Performance artist, palm reader and manufacturer of flying carpets Janneke Raaphorst will provide a repair meditation. A special role is reserved for a text. In this episode: “Nu Shu” (“Female Writing in China”) by Wang Ping. This is a text about a secret (embroidery) language in China that was only spoken by women.

All genders are welcome!

Demonstration repair technique

Bring your own needle- or repair work! A repair technique called Reverse Appliqué will be demonstrated in this episode of The Sewing Circle: pieces of fabric in different shapes are sewn under a larger piece with a hole. You don’t need to have any experience with sewing: we’ll practice it together.

Talk by Fatima Abbadi

A short lecture will be given by Fatima Abbadi, embroiderer, photographer and collector of traditional Jordanian and Palestinian dresses. She grew up between Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and Jordan and studied in Italywhere she became a member of the italian street photography group Mignon in 2007. She lived there until 2019, when she moved to the Netherlands with her family. Some of her most important projects are: Woman’s Image Re-visitation and The Study of Orientalism Phenomenon, Al Salt (photo documentary) and Tatreez (Palestinian embroidery). All her projects reflect her personal life and background. She documents the daily lives of women in both Europe and the Middle East. Her mission is to build bridges between these worlds, so that we can understand each other better and create mutual respect.

Speakers panel

In addition to Fatima Abbadi, Theodoor Johannes will join the panel discussion. Theodorus Johannes is a filmmaker and photographer, researcher and storyteller. His short documentaries focus on fashion as a complex but powerful form of communication, where themes such as identity and authenticity are examined and discussed. FRAGMENTS is his manifesto for diversity and social intervention. Both online and offline, Theodorus Johannes advocates autonomy and embraces cultural norms with curiosity.

Repair meditation

A repair meditation will be provided by performance and textile artist Janneke Raaphorst. Janneke Raaphorst is a palm reader and manufacturer of flying carpets.


Gian van Grunsven is a maker, journalist and host. In her artistic-journalistic projects she investigates themes kaleidoscopically: artistic, social, scientific, philosophical and spiritual. For seven years, most of her programs focused on (female) sexuality and the connection with our body. In the autumn of 2020 she researched the role of art in this fast-changing world within Radio Futura at Theater Frascati (power shifts, climate crises, the unrest of the pandemic). In The Sewing Circle my interests in physicality and social analysis come together with my budding curiosity about women’s circles. And maybe I will also learn how to sew. ”

Location and time

Because of COVID-19, this event will take place online. 

19:20 Walk-in (online)
19:30 Start program
The program lasts until 21:30.

Buy tickets

The entire event will be taking place online. Tickets cost € 4 excl. administration costs for YourTicket Provider.

The ticketsale will end 3 hours before the start of the event. At this time, you will also receive the link for the online Zoom- environment.

Ticketsale is closed. 

About the Feminist Needlework Party

The Feminist Needlework Party develops an unspectacular ongoing counter-narrative in the form of various performative actions and workshops. The feminist and political initiative wants to realize a higher level of appreciation for care, maintenance and repair through its activities. During their gatherings they allow needlework and studying to become completely intertwined. By doing so they strive to unlearn the deep-rooted tendency to elicit a hierarchic separation between body and mind (where the mind is prioritized over matter). By speaking in an embodied way both indoors as well as in the public domain (from community centre to boardroom), together with the participants of their gatherings they develop an alternative way of working, making and speaking.

The FHP is an initiative by Emmeline de Mooij and Margreet Sweerts.

Made possible by

This program is made possible by the Creative Industries Fund NL and the BankGiro Lottery Fund.

Series The Sewing Circle (De Naaikrans)

De Naaikrans is a five-part series. Other episodes take place on the 3rd and 24th of February, the 17th of March, and the 7th and 28th of April. Click here for an overview of all the episodes.

Image: Vivianne Sassen.