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Stitching a Forest …

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Who are we?

We are Collective Zurciendo el planeta (Darning the planet), made up of over 100 women, aged 9-87, mainly from Latin America, from different professions and walks of life. We share a longing for a future that is different to the present, marked as it is by the climate emergency, inequality and violence … and we also share a love for creating and stitching new things with old materials.

Just a few of us outside the Parque ecológico Xochimilco in Mexico City, February 2022

So we have decided to use artivism to express our feelings for the planet and invite others to stop and reflect on how all together we actually could change the world.

Our embroideries take up ancestral skills as a form of resistance, combining elements of mending and re-creating, and they allow us to find community in our actions.

Why we stitched the Forest of Hope, with stubborn optimism

The idea of embroidering a forest emerged in a zoom meeting where we articulated the idea that to face the climate crisis perhaps we could act like forests. Trees are guardians of wisdom, examples of solidarity and community. In a forest, each tree communicates with the others creating a web of resistance, mutual protection and sustenance. Trees also happen to be our best and so far only existing mechanism for capturing the excess carbon in our atmosphere.

We all have fond memories of one or more trees in our life, and they gave us the motivation to start embroidering them and bring them together to make a forest which would carry our demands, commitments and messages of hope.

We starting stitching with stubborn optimism. With our needles and our stitches we made bridges and connections, convinced that we’re running late, but there is still time to make the changes that the planet needs.

What are we doing?

For this project, in 2021, we started stitching trees on old clothes and recovered fabrics to create a great textile mural. Brought together, the trees formed a forest with the message «Humans, let’s be like a forest. Flourish for the common good».

We started working on our trees to send this message of equitable collaboration from our countries of origin (mainly Mexico, Argentina and Chile, to start with!) to Glasgow, Scotland, for the UN Climate Conference in 2021 (COP26).

A small section of the Forest of Hope, installed across the Clyde from the Armadillo, during COP26 in Glasgow (Nov 2021)

After our visit to Glasgow and observing such clear evidence that the most polluting countries and corporations have no real interest in working toward a regenerative and equitable future, the Forest of Hope is and will keep growing.

Our forest is now at the beginning of a new journey back to the cities and towns were its trees were created: we will install the forest in many varied public spaces where it will be seen by thousands of people, and invite them to dream and imagine what the future could be like in a world where humanity is not conceived as predatory and competitive, but rather as a collaborative species.

Read our letter from the future we long for

What next?

We want the forest to grow and travel all over the world as a metaphor for the strong feeling that is growing for much of humanity: we need to do things differently: less fossil fuels, more trees, more community and more community-thinking. Let’s spread the message of hope and help people imagine a better way of being in the future.

In 2022-23 the forest is touring Mexico and Argentina (see confirmed dates here) and it is growing!

Would you like to help the forest grow? Contributions are welcome from all over the world. See below!

How to join the forest

We invite you to stitch a tree with recycled fabrics and send it to us in several different locations (please check with us what’s best for wherever you are). It’s a totally free creation, we only have a few size requirements and make sure it’s all made from recycled fabric/old clothes, we don’t want to contribute to the textile industry’s massive social and environmental destruction.

For English, the call to all stitchers is here and the stitch guide is here.

For Spanish, check our llamado a bordar here and the guía de bordado here.

For French, check the guide de broderie.

If you would like to translate our calls to stitch into more languages we’d love that!! PLEASE DO WRITE TO US.

Where to send your finished trees

If you’re reading this from Europe, we have a French address which will be receiving embroideries until the end of May.

If you’re reading this from anywhere on the American continent we can give you an address in Mexico or Argentina for sending your trees.

If you’re anywhere else in the world we would love to hear from you and receive your embroideries at any of the above addresses, whichever is easiest for you.

Contact us directly on zurciendoelplaneta@gmail.com

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