We’re thrilled that the Stay With Love exhibition has moved from concept to reality alongside our partners CARAS and The Sound Lounge. We experienced so much energy, creativity and patience from all the volunteers and staff involved in this experiment: Thank You!

We hung the show on the 2nd October, and then the exhibition opening was brilliant last evening. Now the show is available to enjoy whenever The Sound Lounge is open, until October 29th.

Drilling holes for hanging
Suspending the figure drawings

Two of the exhibition pieces ask for your views and ideas. 
We hope you get there and add to When I Dream and Thread Your Story devised by CARAS and the adult group. Of course, you can enjoy the whole show with coffee or a sandwich served by young people from CARAS who are engaged in certificated work training at The Sound Lounge.

‘Thread Your Story’
‘When I Dream’

The exhibition opening festivities yesterday included an afternoon family crafts workshop and then the main evening celebration – we’ll report on the celebration in the next blog post.

Afternoon Family Crafts
Straight from school, two dozen children & adults launched into an hour and a half’s making, all crowded around two long tables. It was a great scene and we admired their energy after a whole day in school. We offered two of our favourite and valuable projects. Both are related to the purpose and content of the creative work we have carried out alongside the refugees and aslyum-seekers from CARAS over the past two years in the Rooting in Tooting and Gardens of Refuge projects

“Tooting’s insects need your love!”
We looked at photos of some local garden insects (predators and prey; garden crop-friendly and also less desirable) and then made plastic bottle insect shelters for beneficial ladybirds and lacewings in the garden.
With some clever planning, decorations onto the rolled-up corrugated cardboard could be protected from rain by being placed inside the bottle rather than stuck on the outside of the plastic (= design and technology for real).
Families took their bottle-houses home to hang in the trees in their own gardens or neighbourhoods.

She’s added a #StayWithLove sticker

“Feel safe and breathe!”
Secondly, we painted garden row markers with messages of welcome on them. That’s in the same spirit the CARAS Youth Club showed when they wrote inviting comments in many languages on the on four inscribed pallet-benches for the Tooting Twirl – one is in the show and two more are being used in the cafe.

Children and adults devised messages – another design and planning challenge – which they painted on narrow wooden slats we’ve rescued from discarded bed frames – very neat recycling as the slats are strong and a perfect size. The artists donated all the painted markers to the Tooting Community Garden, which we really appreciate.

All the new markers, laid out on one of the benches

More soon on the evening opening celebrations….