Coming from all corners of the globe the Ballyhaunis Women’s group are a diverse group of women who meet weekly in Ballyhaunis. The group was brought together by MIA (Mayo Intercultural Action) and has been in operation since 2008. Acting as a coordinator MIA has facilitated integration activities with the group ranging from raising awareness on health issues, practical skills building, social events and arts/crafts activities.
As a community artist I have worked on art projects with the group since their early days. Most recently we made flowers for May Day at Turlough Park House, National Museum of Ireland -County Life.
The flowers were made in one session and the process was truly inspirational. The designs were based on a particular type of flower making using tissue which is prevalent in Pakistan. As a group we were guided by Hina – the only member of the group from Pakistan. Cruising through the language barrier with the common language of craft she guided women from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, The Congo, Russia and Ireland. We all connected ideas of crafts we had learned in our own childhood with what Hena was showing us. I was reminded again of how vast the world is when there can be so many variations of flower making that work using such a simple and unassuming material as tissue paper.