Weaving Tenderness

“Weaving Tenderness” Letterpress, pencil, acrylic, digital | Kim Vanderheiden 2021

“When I was 10 years old, they taught me to weave. It was a year later when I could finally weave well. So I began to weave the typical garments like the wipil (woven blouse for women), capixay (long, woven, black vest for men), pants, shirts, and handkerchiefs, the work that is a Mayan custom. Seeing that the pieces were well made, I felt excited and proud of the work because I knew how much concentration was needed in order to be able to do the drawings, trimmings, and decorations that are part of the woven pieces” – name withheld for the weaver’s protection

The weaver featured in this piece is a resident at the Oakland Catholic Worker (OCW). The center of OCW’s work is the guest accompaniment program. OCW offers transitional housing for up to 4 months to Latin American migrants (adults or families). Many of those living at the OCW are seeking asylum in the United States. They leave their countries for many reasons including violence, abuse, political insecurity, and lack of opportunities and jobs. At the OCW, we walk with newly arrived immigrants to help them navigate a new system, culture, and language.

 New guests often find OCW through nearby churches, family, friends, former guests, and other community organizations. In addition to providing the basic necessities of food and housing during their stay, our case management team meets with guests to help them to determine their goals and work to achieve them. We provide support as they connect with resources such as affordable housing, community engagement, and needed legal, medical, and educational services. – Faith Kersey-Bronec, Oakland Catholic Worker

This poster is part of the Tenderly Project. I approach this project with both a personal intention and a social one. The personal intention is to draw the subject while in prayerful contemplation of the sacred beauty and dignity of the subject and a desire for their wellness or healing, extending to other beings with similar life experiences. The social intention is to share the finished poster with others to nurture a collective awareness of holding the subject, as well as other beings with similar life experiences, tenderly in our thoughts, behaviors, laws, programs, and institutions, as a necessary component of supporting justice and peace in our world. 

Printed Tenderly Project posters are available digitally printed on 100% cotton acid free paper using pigment based inks for color stability and longevity. They can be sized for 8×10” to 11×14” depending on how you will display them. As an experiment, Tenderly posters will be offered on a gift economy basis through the end of 2021. To obtain a poster, please contact Kim Vanderheiden or Justice Conversation and you will receive one.

If you would like to make a contribution to the project, $45 covers the basic costs of printing one poster, contributes to overhead, and provides a portion to the person or being whose story is shared. Additional funds will provide greater support for the person whose story is shared, the non-profit that assists them, as well as Justice Conversation, a project that promotes the understanding that love is the foundation of justice.

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