Making The First Storyropes™

The First Storyropes

The first storyropes™ were created in Marge Malwitz's studio in Brookfield, CT on June 12, 2007. In anticipation of going to Rwanda the very next month, Marge was looking for a simple way for each Rwandan to tell her or his story in the Healing & Forgiveness Workshops that she would be leading.  As quilts were in her presentation, it made sense to use soft materials to tell their stories. To try the idea out, Marge invited 2 friends into her studio to tell their life stories with fabric and ribbons. The photos show her friends with the first storyropes™. Two of the 4 Rwanda Quilts, she designed and used in the Rwanda workshops, are on the work wall.

After developing the storyrope™ in her Connecticut art studio in June 2007, Marge Malwitz took the storyrope™ idea to Rwanda where workshop participants created simple storyropes™ made with African fabrics and ribbons purchased in Rwanda. This post shares how they were made with ideas that can be adjusted to any culture. 

The Name Storyrope
During Marge Malwitz's time in Rwanda, the workers at Rwanda World Relief Headquarters in Kigali were asked to come up with a name for this strip of fabric with tied on ribbons, representing a person's story. The name they came up with was in their Kinyarwanda language - Akagozi K'ubuzima Bwange, meaning 'The Rope of My Life.' In English we called it storyrope™.  

Kigali, Rwanda. This is a short video that takes you right into the spirit of Africa. While making their storyropes™, the widows broke out into spontaneous song, making it up as they went along. One person would sing a line and the rest would repeat a couple times. Another would sing a line and the rest would repeat a couple times and so on.

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