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The Beady Pocket as Cultural Symbol

Exploring the oral tradition of storytelling from within the culture has translated exceptionally well to the concept of the story bag, and through working with the group, the tradition of the “Beady Pocket” has been revisited. Beady pockets were worn by women in the travelling community in years gone by, and were highly decorated pouches, worn around the waist like an apron. The decorative embroidery, colourful trinkets, buttons and bows would all bear individual meaning to the wearer, who would keep her most treasured possessions in the beady pocket. The beady pocket is also being explored as a vehicle for storytelling, cultural reminiscence and historical archive. The Beady Pockets are being created together with the story bags to suit all age groups from pre-schoolers to adults. “Threading Tales” celebrates and foregrounds adventures and reminiscences, drawing out stories from the heart of Traveller culture and indigenous Traveller tales of old, stories from the campfires. Some of the finished works will be used by representatives from the Travelling community to recount stories from their culture throughout the community and schools, and some will be housed in the Traveller Cultural Centre in Athy. The pictureógs and beady pockets will also be exhibited and demonstrated through the library service, schools and education centres. Interest in the concept from other counties has already been expressed.

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