Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Tomorrow I'll do the story ropes with seniors at the Watermark. They have a great art room to work in. Collecting up: cut fabric strips 2 1/2" x 35" - 1 per person; ribbons in assorted colors*; buttons & thread; fabric scraps; & scissors.

I'll be telling them that this is not a piece of artwork or even a craft. It is simply a way think through your life sequentially by tieing pieces of ribbon, buttons, small strips of fabric on to the long strip. Each piece is thoughtfully chosen to represent a significant event, experience, person, location, whatever. When they are done making their 'rope' they are welcome to share their story with the rest of the group. But only if they want. (Usually they do.)

My story rope on the mantle. I develped the story rope idea in Rwanda, working with the genocide survivors, as a way to process the pain in their lives. It was the Rwandan's who came up with the term story rope.

*Decided to save the ribbons for the trip. The fabric options will be plenty.


  1. Phyllis-Sorry I must have deleted your comment. You asked-How does it work?
    It is as simple as I said-a person picks a long strip of fabric and starts at one end to tie ribbons (or whatever) on the strip. In Rwanda the women picked the colors for some significance they each personlly assigned to the color. So the color meaning was up to them. No rules. ie. black=death, buttons=family members murdered; red+blood, pale blue=hope, etc. etc.

  2. Marge, thanks for sharing the wonderful concept and where it came from! SO blessed with your project! Beautiful recycling too!

  3. This is easier than I thought. Now I see how it works.. each person has one long strip of fabric and each thing (ribbon, another fabric strip, yarn that they tie to their original strip represents a separate story. Could be something that happened to them or something they did... a sin or something good. It all makes up the story of a woman's life to share or not with the group. Thanks for making this clearer. I can see this happening in lots of varied venues... not just in a retirement village or a refuge camp in Africa.

  4. Marge, thanks for sharing the beautiful concept. I can see how putting the sad as well as the good on the rope would tend to validate that life does go on and can be beautiful in the sharing with others.