Friday, 14 May 2010

Denim Dwarf

"What do you know about fashion you denim dwarf?"
That was just one response I got from my outfit today.
The second was a 13-year-old girl who rearranged my scarf to make me "look more trendy Miss."
But it was all in good fun.
It was my third Friday working as a Creative Practitioner at a Blackburn High School.
I am working with another writer, a poet called Norman, and together we are presenting a series of writing workshops to help engage pupils with a wider vocabulary.
It is a wonderfully creative project.
Each week Norman and I use our work to stimulate a writing workshop with each of the four classes we work with.
By July we should have enough material to create a book.
Today's workshop was entitled "The Small Fabric Of Our Lives" it began with Norman and I commenting on each other's clothes hence the "Denim Dwarf" jibe which made me laugh.
What was funny was the way the students leapt to my defence.
"She looks trendy not like you - you look like a binman," they told Norman.
We chatted about how clothes can be used as weapons and Norman did a fantastic job performing Jenny Joesph's poem "Warning" about the woman who vows to wear purple when she is old.
The school is almost entirely made up of Muslim pupils which led to a fascinating debate about Asian clothing and the scarves that some of the girls wore.
I talked about Catherine Hill, the woman featured in Linda Grant's brilliant book "The Thoughtful Dresser".
After being orphaned in a Concentration Camp a young Catherine risked her life to create a headband from the "striped pyjamas" she was forced to wear.
Catherine fashioned the headband to remind her of the ribbons her mother once put in her hair.
We listened to Mary Chapin Carpenter's song "This Shirt" and talked about favourite items of clothing.
It was a fabulous day and the students aged between 12 and 15 wrote some brilliant pieces - funny, thoughtful, moving and much more.
When the book is finished it will be published and available on Amazon.
I will keep you posted.

Thanks to everyone who has signed up for the Summer Wardrobe Challenge - quite a few will be on holiday so it should help with the packing.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Today I wore:
Boots - tesco
Skirt - Marks and Spencer
Top and Scarf - Designers at Debenhams (Betty Jackson)


  1. I'm loving reading your posts - about your interesting jobs as well as the clothes styling. I heartily agree about the scarf tying - the right-hand photo makes you look younger! (I have an obsession with scarves and the various ways of wearing them.)

    BTW some time ago I met Linda Grant and Catherine Hill at a literary event where they both discussed Linda's book which is a terrific read. Catherine Hill was magnificent. I can also recommend Linda's novel, The Clothes On Their Backs. PS thanks for your comment on my blog - hope you'll enter my Giveaway.

  2. Such a wonderful post and a great project x

  3. Great post - that poem is great. And I love the fact that the kids came to your defence -they know style when they see it.

  4. What a great proyect.
    To begin with, being a poet is not a job where I am from, but a hobby as there is no way you could live off of it. It's very sad. Imagine we have about 5 decent book shops. That is it.
    Just to think that it is possible is hopeful !
    I loved to feel during my read that you are enjoying it :) I would be too.
    Lovely scarf.... :)

  5. Wow, this is great. What a fantastic idea. This is the kind of workshop my daughter would love (and me too!). Could you maybe come to York too? Ciao. A.
    PS I'm not joking!

  6. Lovely post - that is so sweet that the kids came to your defense!

    Chic on the Cheap


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