Teacher has woven her way to an MBE

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Rezia Wahid interweaves the muti-cultural threads of Britain Rezia Wahid interweaves the muti-cultural threads of Britain

A TEACHER at Warwick School for Boys is soon to receive an MBE for her unique contribution to arts in London.

Rezia Wahid, 29, creates hand-woven textiles ins-pired by the airy lightness of seeding dandelions.

Miss Wahid discovered the light Baf-thana fabrics in her native Bangladesh, and studied the threads they used to produce her own contemporary airy light fabrics she calls "woven air", the literal translation of Baf-thana.

Her work is a poignant symbol of her own inter-cultural threads her English upbringing and spiritual Islamic influences using the Bangladeshi technique.

Miss Wahid has lived in England for 24 years, and says she cannot imagine living anywhere else.

She is one of only three artists to be selected by the South West Arts Council to create a piece which celebrates the cultural diversity of Britain.

She is using the very fine English merino wool, with a dark blue colour found in Turkish Islamic ceramics.

She said: "I've never really wanted fame or rewards but woven textiles is a dying form of craft and it's very hard to make bread and butter money in the woven textile business."

Miss Wahid fell into teaching textiles technology. She said: "I thought it was a wonderful way of giving my artistic creativity to society and do my own work."

She now teaches art, textiles and computer skills to boys at Warwick School, which she says is fun.

She said: "Generally boys love doing things with their hands, and if we research into the past we find it was men who used to weave, such as William Morris.

"We have this stereotype that girls weave, but it's just not true. We still have very talented men who are doing textiles, fashion and design."

Miss Wahid has taken her students to visit the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, and is delighted about the 20 Warwick boys who have signed up to take textiles technology GCSE in her class.

Miss Wahid makes hand- woven textiles for individual clients, shops and galleries. To view her work, log on to: www.woven-air.com.

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