Common Threads Project: Exhibit extended to June 14

“Please tell our story. We want the world to know.”

Story cloth circle participant


The Illumination Fund is proud to have hosted Stitch By Stitch: The Fabric of Healing, the first-ever New York City exhibition by Common Threads Project. Common Threads Project is one of the Fund’s Arts & Mental Health grantees.

The exhibition opened on March 13, 2023 and is on view at the Illumination Fund’s office until May 24. The exhibit catalog, including photos, stories, and videos, will continue to be available online.

Stitch By Stitch brings together story cloths from Ecuador, Nepal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bosnia, and the United States. They have been made as part of a recovery program designed for survivors of sexual violence, trauma, and displacement and by trained clinicians who facilitate the program.

Common Threads Project, in collaboration with local partners, has developed a transformative trauma intervention inspired by the ancient cultural practice of sewing story cloths. The textiles are storytellers; they are messengers. They convey unspeakable suffering with power and immediacy. While they do not spare us the depth of their pain, they also bring us into the fullness of the lives of their makers.

Learn about Common Threads Project’s work in New York City, supported by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund:

Common Threads Project

This exhibit invites us to bear witness to be a part of the healing process of the survivors by hearing their stories, acknowledging their pain, and affirming their hopes. We invite you to take a quiet moment to reflect as you embark on this journey and to allow the story cloths to influence you in their own way.

Special guided tours can be accommodated by advance registration.

Registration: Fabric of Healing Exhibit Tour

The organization of the digital catalog reflects the groupings in the exhibit. Story cloths were grouped in four sections:

Hidden Memories

Surviving Atrocities

Healing Wounds

Building Solidarity

The five prompts used in CTP circles were spread throughout the exhibit, as they are here as well. Most cloths have titles, but artists’ names are omitted.

“This is a moment I will never forget.”

“This is what I cannot say.”

“This is what I need you to know.”

“This is what the cloth is trying to say.”

“This is what has helped me to survive.”

For some story cloths, there are accompanying videos and audio recordings. Click on the image of story cloths with a 🔊 or 🎥 to hear from facilitators, participants, and more.


Visit the Common Threads Project