By Emma Roberts
Residents of Farsley, Calverley and Rodley have found their ‘common thread’ – through a free arts event bringing people together.
The Rev Samuel Marsden memorial gardens on Farsley Town Street was transformed into a creative fun outdoor space that brought the local community together to share stories and make art.
‘Common thread’ was an event funded and led by Farsley artist Ben Mills as part of the Leeds 2023 city of culture.
There was a great feeling of community spirit on the day.
A brightly coloured handmade six foot ‘Welcome’ sign made by residents was hung on the walls of the garden and pavements covered with chalk signs. A large structure made of metal from the ward crafted by Ben could be seen from the road along with a mountain of fabric donated by a local business.
Residents and visitors, received a warm welcome from Ben and his team of volunteers, who encouraged people to take a seat, grab a free cuppa and learn how to arm crochet.
Children’s attention was captured with the craft corner and delicious cup cakes were on sale supplied by Chef Imogen.
Some people chose not to craft but to stop and have a chat and share stories with each other. Some who took part were new to the ward and this was a great opportunity for them to connect with other locals, build friendships and find out what’s happening in the area. Others said they enjoyed arm crochet and found the activity was mindful.
Families who attended said it was “refreshing to be outside and doing something different, as usually the kids are glued to their screens when at home”.
A boy shared urban myths of Farsley being haunted by a headless horseman who travels down Town Street at night.
Before leaving the garden people had been asked to tie their crocheted creations to the structure, transforming it into a sculpture that honours the rich textile heritage of the locality.
At the end of the day Ben and his volunteers carried the sculpture along town street to be stored at the springbank mills.
Residents enjoyed the day so much they were keen to see it happen again and asked that the sculpture be brought out again at future local events.
Following the Common Thread event, two Facebook groups have been set up.
CRAFT Calverley, Rodley and Farsley Together was set up by the volunteers of the Common Thread event and who would like to continue to develop some further ideas. ‘Arty Farsley’ sees locals have been busy crafting away to ‘yarn bomb’ the Samuel Marsden memorial gardens to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.