Ashiana – Urdu, noun
1. bird’s nest
2. beautiful home full of, or made with, love and friendship
Poet and printer Francesca Kay led a series of workshops with Newport Mind’s Ashiana group, a group for Asian women to learn new skills and develop support networks in a culturally appropriate and safe environment. Using cut-ups from botanical illustrations, the group created collages, writing empowering messages and poems in English and Urdu about being women. The group then embellished and decorated the assembled piece before it was framed.
The themes of positivity and womanhood were developed further using Francesca’s mobile badge making machine and 1920s printing press. The letterpress printing process uses wooden letters and symbols, called moveable type, which are then inked. This creates a unique impression each time it’s pressed against the paper, giving members of the group individual and distinctive artworks, some of which were taken home to use as gifts or to display. The rest of the artwork produced by the group will be used to decorate Newport Mind’s new offices to make them more colourful and welcoming.
This project was developed as part of Literature Wales’ flagship outreach programme, The South Wales Literature Development Initiative, in partnership with Mind Newport.