Community Arts

The Big Weave
Community Artist In Residence,
Sandy Spring Museum, 2015

You have probably heard the expression “the social fabric of the community” but did you ever think about it in literal terms? The Big Weave, an interactive community-created work of art, was a metaphor for bringing together diverse elements of the Sandy Spring neighborhood and weaving them together to create a single fabric. If you consider all the individual members of a community as threads, the “social fabric” is made by having those members interact, thus weaving the threads together.


I was tasked with designing a structure that would allow for the participation of anyone with a desire to weave. The other requirement was that the installation would allow for the incorporation of many types of materials. Traditional weaving materials like yarn and strips of fabric were provided, but also nontraditional materials like mardi gras beads. People contributed mementos: ties, lanyards, t-shirts, even a photograph. We had weavers from pre-school to elders. Weavers came from assorted school groups, religious groups, special interest clubs, weavers from all sectors of the Sandy Spring community. From many diverse threads comes one vibrant, beautiful community.


Suzanne Herbert-Forton