Amber: Awareness of Domestic Violence

AMBER Women’s Refuge, led by Siobhan McQuillan (Art Therapist) and Relief Worker, initiated a Star Weaving project in Kilkenny in December 2019 with the aim to raise awareness and provide information about Domestic Violence.

The One Million Stars to End Violence project began in Australia in 2012 as a response to the rape and murder of Irish woman Jill Meagher. Feeling sad and angry, Mary Ann Talia Pau decided to weave stars.

What began as a very intimate process, grew into an offering to others locally and around the world. Mary Ann invited and welcomed others to weave together and be in community, not only in times of crisis but every day. This led to an incredible installation of the million stars.

Kilkenny County Council has recently partnered with Amber Women’s refuge to support and promote this project and to get people weaving stars across Kilkenny and indeed the whole of Ireland.
This Kilkenny One Million Stars Project is the first of its kind in Ireland and Project founder Mary Ann Talia Pau is delighted to have us on board.

Raised funds

Star weavers were first recruited in the historic village of Kells, Kilkenny where a virtual concert and launch raised funds for Amber.

Our current star weavers hail from across the county, including Kells, Bennettsbridge, the Loreto secondary school, Kilkenny Libraries, Kilkenny City, Stoneyford, Burnchurch, Newtown, Ennisnag, Cuffesgrange, Dunnamaggin, Kilmoganny, Callan and also a huge effort from Ballyragget.

Members of the Kilkenny star weaver’s families living outside Kilkenny have also come on board, so we also have stars from Dublin, Offaly, Cork and Carlow including students from Carlow College, St Patrick’s.

Siobhan was first introduced to the Project while visiting the Lane Cove Gallery Sydney.

The project installation was so impressive, and she was touched by the compelling visual impact it had along with the powerful message that together we can stand against violence while connecting with members of the community.

“Amber Women’s Refuge is delighted to partner with Kilkenny County Council on this very worthwhile project.  

We would ask anyone who is interested in taking part to please contact us and we will be more than happy to provide any help or assistance to get you started.  This is a community project so the more weavers we get the better. 

Light and love

“Show your support to end domestic violence” says Lisa Morris, Manager at Amber Women’s Refuge.

Inspired by Dr Martin Luther King Jnr’s words of being light and love in our communities, we are inviting people to weave stars as a symbol of our daily commitment and solidarity to end all forms of violence, together. We are creating love and light and passing it on to others.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 crisis has meant that the many community star weaving gatherings now cannot happen so we are inviting you, no matter where you are from in Ireland, to get weaving at home with family and friends and to help spread the word.

More star weavers mean more stars which will influence the impact of the final exhibition in Kilkenny in November/ December 2020.

This project is also a fundraiser for Amber Women’s refuge as funds are vital for Amber to continue to provide safety, security, solace, solidarity and a range of other support services to people who are suffering violence in the home.

Very dangerous

Refuges throughout Ireland are inundated with calls from people in very precarious and perilous situations.

To live with a violent partner (emotional and physical) has far reaching consequences in relation to the longer term emotional and wellbeing impact it has on the victims and survivors of abuse. So these refuges offer hugely significant support.

Stars can be woven from 5cm Poly ribbon and this can be purchased from just ask for Graham. We are also encouraging you to weave stars from recycled materials.
To date we have had stars made from paper bags, crisp packets, newspaper and left over wrapping paper.

The woven Stars shall be assembled and curated into an exhibition in Kilkenny during the 16 Days of Activism in November 2020 and throughout the Christmas period.

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