Phulkari Lantern Project


Sparth is a small area with a vibrant community in Rochdale.

The area Sparth is made up of about 40% Pakistani residents, many of whom have lived there since they came to work in the mills in the 60s and 70s.

This project has involved working in the community linked to the heritage history project called “Sparth then and now”.

The aim of the project was to encourage the Asian community, especially the women, to come together and share their stories about when and why they settled in Rochdale, alongside getting involved in an arts workshop to create an art piece for the Sparth then and now exhibition.

The Asian women from Sparth and other participants from the nearby area have learnt new skills shared some of their stories had fun ,got to know each other and created this beautiful embellished handmade lantern.

We started off with a taster workshop at the summer festival on Sunday 27th July, with the intention of recruiting women from the community to get involved in further workshops.

A display of historical Asian clothing, and embroidered soft furnishings were used as inspiration, some dated back to 1920. A silk frame was set up with flowers outlined ready for painting.

This encouraged the women to gain interest and get actively involved in the silk painting at the summer festival. The silk painting was based on phulkari which means flower work or flower garden.

The silk flowers, which the women painted have been cut out and sewn onto this lantern

The next 2 workshops “have a go at simple embroidery” were held here at Touchstones.

These workshops consisted of people from different cultures ,British,

Nigerian, Pakistani and Indian and a varied age group from age 12 to 60, working together.

The group worked very well together and openly discussed their residence in Rochdale.

They learnt a technique called ribbon embroidery. Creating roses with wool and ribbon which are displayed within the lantern.

A further 3 workshops were held at Sparth community centre. They proved to be very productive too. The women created many beautiful flowers using various techniques. Reverse appliqué with cut work, layered work, sequin application, fabric painting, chain stitch, stitching with wool, and batik.