HomeBlogThe re-creating culture project: Heritage, memory and legacy for good ageing

The re-creating culture project: Heritage, memory and legacy for good ageing

Today we would like to bring you closer to an interesting initiative involving a group of people who regularly come to our Bermingham Day Centre. This is the project "Re-creating culture: my trousseau, our legacy", a playful-artistic proposal that has allowed us to work through a series of creative workshops on an element with a great heritage and evocative of memories such as the trousseau.

This proposal is based on the interest in giving recognition to the wisdom and experience that usually accompany old age and its protagonists, the elderly. All of them are living sources of memory, knowledge and culture. They are direct testimonies of another era, in whose minds stories, memories and a legacy are accumulated which, due to their value and richness, deserve to be made visible and transmitted to new generations.

Thus, we talk about recognition, and at the same time, we also talk about quality of life, and that is thanks to this activity we work on memory, recalling positive experiences from a previous life stage, family scenes, loved ones..., which we have verified has a favourable reflection on the self-esteem and well-being of the participants.

Evoking memories through the trosseau

The trousseau was the set of objects and household items that a woman brought to her new home when she got married. The textile part of this trousseau (bedding, table linen,...) was usually made by hand by the women of the house, mothers, sisters and in some cases the bride herself, as a gift for that new life outside the family home. On many occasions these products were passed down from generation to generation, and were a sample of the best craftsmanship.

When we chose the element we wanted to work on, we valued that the making of the trousseau was an intergenerational task, and sewing was a women's trade that has hardly been given any value. A tradition that has almost disappeared and of which young people and children have hardly (or never) heard.

The beginnings and development of Re-creating Culture

This initiative is part of MatiaZaleak's social projects. For the design, planning and execution of everything that this activity has involved, we have had exceptional partners such as the designers Oihane Pardo, from Amarenak, and Sara Galán, from La Niña Bonita-Espacio Creativo, who have also helped us to raise the necessary funds thanks to different activities that have been joined by Hiruzta, Lluch Wine&Gastronomy, David de Jorge and Kutxa Fundazioa.

October was the month set aside for the start of the weekly workshops, to which a dozen women from the Bermingham day centre signed up, almost all of whom had something in common: links with the world of sewing, painting, design and the plastic arts. The first session served to make contact and helped to strengthen the objective of the workshops with the group: to remember and rescue memories, historical context...

An object was then selected so that each participant, just as with the trousseau, could personalise, work, decorate, reflect his or her personality and history. The "Kutxa" was chosen, a Basque chest in which the family's precious objects, hand-carved, were kept.

As a result, each participant made a Kutxa, with different traditional Basque embroideries that used to represent the families, the areas...

During these workshops we have reflected on the things that at the end of our lives remain in our memories: are they the people? are they the good times? are they the little details? the funny anecdotes? As we suspected, memories flourished, positive stories and experiences emerged, we shared concerns and different views on some issues that concern us. Among the recurring themes: the family, childhood memories, the scarcity of life and the contrast with today's consumer society. What is clear is that they all have a lot to tell, and that the key to a full life is to have something you love, whether it is your family, your friends or your hobbies and passions.

Those of us who were present throughout the process witnessed how lessons, mutual help, the desire to do things, recognition and something very valuable emerged, we perceived illusion and commitment.

We ended the workshops in December with a "packaging" activity, after which each of the participants was able to take their box home to give it to a loved one. As with the trousseau, the idea was to make something by hand with aesthetic, cultural and historical significance... to give to a loved one.

And you...? Did you have a trousseau? Maybe your parents or grandparents? Have you talked about it as a family? It is always a good opportunity to ask and learn.

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