Broderi Embroidery workshop DIY pillowcase

100 Obliczy Haftu – Final vernissage

100 Obliczy Haftu / Faces of Embroidery was a project financed by the Chancellery of the Prime Minister as part of the “Polonia and Poles Abroad 2023” competition. It was organized with support from Oslo Sanitetsforening. The vernissage took place on 16.12.2023.

In 2024, we plan to continue with the project. You will be able to learn embroidery and contribute with your hand-embroidered portrait to create a large collaborative canvas.

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Underneath is a speech, which was also my reflection on this project. It meant a lot to me. My inner critic says it sounds pathetic, but life is sometimes pathetic. Especially when I could finally organize something I’ve been dreaming about for years.


100 is a symbolic number and there will be more than that in the coming years. It is a work in progress, as each of us is. In my mind, in my heart, there are many more of us – women, makers, artists – countless women who often don’t have a voice, who can’t express themselves, but who are here with us, symbolically.

Broderi workshop DIY pillowcase

Women have a hard job here on Earth – they give birth to all humankind, which is one of the most dangerous things a human body can endure. Those of us who haven’t given birth physically – we mother other people and animals and co-create many things in the world. Our creative force is unique, often suppressed, unappreciated, and kept away from museums and galleries, hidden in drawers and closets for years. Yet we have a special bond with the natural world and plant life since the beginning of the human race. With this collective canvas, we show that bond.

You are here today because you showed a willingness to participate. The openness to share your creation brought you to this project. This small act of courage to show up and do something that might seem trivial or minor is a grand gesture to the mental health of our community. This shows our strength. We made a small mark on our lives individually and collectively.

About the work itself.

The composition of each piece teaches us that we don’t always have to design the art, think it through, or plan it in advance. We must play with it most of the time and let the art be created through us. We can start with small steps, a sketch, and make as we go. With some curiosity and trust, it can lead us somewhere beautiful.

The placement of the faces is random – we just wanted to create a safe circle – the faces on the outside are facing towards the inside. We attempted to make the same safe circle during the workshops. And we finish by creating a circle here today.

Click on the pictures to see them in big size

These here are mothers and daughters, friends and strangers. These are souls who saw the description of the project, and something inside them said “yes.” You all said yes to this, to be here in the last four months and today.

These are works equally precious and beautiful, even though one might judge differently and give marks for advancement or professionalism. Yet, I firmly believe we don’t have to be the same to share the same space. We don’t have to be perfect to be accepted. You don’t have to be anything or from anywhere to feel loved and worthy. There is enough love and space for us all. And we can continually create more to include those left unheard.

Broderi Embroidery workshop DIY pillowcase

One face is sewn together with the next; through that connection, we are all a part of a bigger whole. And we all matter. We have created a collaborative art piece.

The work has raw edges. It is a work in progress, as each of us is. It looks like this today but will look completely different a year from now. And so will we. We are not finite, we are not stuck, we have a choice, and we have a voice. This work is our joint voice, shown through an intimate relationship between our hearts, hands, and threads.

We meet today, not standing, but sitting, comfortable, next to each other in a circle. We are sometimes exhausted from holding others on our backs, standing strong, facing daily challenges. Today, I hope we can relax, be proud, and congratulate ourselves and each other. I’m glad we could find some moments of comfort here.

Click on the pictures to see them in big size

In the notebook from three years ago, when I planned this project, I wrote to myself – sometimes I need to grow, learn, and fix myself before I can do something. But I can grow and learn by actually doing that thing by trusting in the process with curiosity. Just as if I was playing with art.

To create, to participate, and to be present means connection.
Thank you for that connection. Thank you for your eyes, time, patience, and trust.

I want to finish this speech with a question and an invitation to a dialogue. Please share a few words if you’d like to, answering the questions or sharing anything else that comes to mind.

What are you saying yes to today?
What are you inviting back into your life?

Thank you especially to Benedikte & Goke, without whom the workshops wouldn’t happen. Thank you also to Emelie, who helped me run the workshops and provided support on many levels. Thank you to the chancellery of the Polish Prime Minister for financial support.

Photos by Aleksandra E. Toniak

4 thoughts on “100 Obliczy Haftu – Final vernissage”

  1. hie,,This is Swati, Thank you for the part of this project😊. I am very overwhelmed. i am waiting to join your further projects. now a days embroidery helps me to relief my mental health❤️ Cant wait to see you for next project🥰

    1. Plants on People

      Hi Swati! I’m so grateful to have met you! Thank you for your kind words. I hope to see you soon!

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