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A TIN OF GLASS BEADS, AND OTHER REFLECTIONS

Art Refuge in collaboration with Young Roots, Kings Cross

31.10.23


‘To [The Community Table] table yesterday we brought a tin of glass beads and a selection of herbs. There was also a section of food based dyes such as coffee, soy sauce, turmeric and tea. We thought about how the herbs and spices related to land and plants. These were used by people to paint patterns on postcards. We talked about early pigments such as henna and turmeric and how they are used across the world.


The beads brought possibility for choice, selection, precision and pattern making. One young person created a delicate bracelet with remarkable colours and composition. He sat quietly at the table absorbed in this process and then gave the bracelet to one of the girls in the group.


Bracelets made us think about a circular narrative with each bead’s texture and colour being a symbol, character or event within the story.


People seemed to be drawn to the tray of beads and we spoke about how individual each person’s preferences were. There seemed to be a sense of autonomy arising as people followed their intuition. One of the Young Roots’ youth workers joined the table at various points, bringing knowledge about Indian culture which sparked discussion about other people’s cultures at the table. Conversations about cultural attitudes towards piercings in South Africa and India moved on to a discussion about the emotional value of jewellery and how it is used across the world to mark archetypal life stages.’


Words by Katie Miller & Thomas Etheridge.




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