Mark, Dan, Shari and Karen returned from Romania on April 15, 2005 having created many successful connections, leaving
a trail of welcome for an eventual return. I am happy to be bringing you the fruits of this groundwork and hope you will enjoy
the connection you have helped us to make with new friends, strengthening the bonds within our own Communities in the process.
Our music with the variety of instrumentation and styles along with storytelling was a winning backdrop for the cultural
exchange and we bridged developmental and language barriers where we brought crankie and books with signing. We demonstrated
and taught fiber art techniques and provided materials, collected wool from each area we traveled through, and learned songs,
dances, printmaking, felting, weaving, and egg-dyeing techniques. Moments when I shook hands, tearfully kissing either cheek
of those touched by the exchange of heartfelt messages from nursing homes and care centers have enriched me immeasurably.
This is where, I believe, our strength lies for the future. I have an energized feeling and am glad we met the initial goals
set forth by Common Thread only one year ago.
The pleasure and surprise at the outreach efforts of Common Thread Cultural Connections as well as the appreciation of
traditional arts was expressed universally by our audiences along with a desire to involve youth in the learning and exchange
of folk arts. One of the offshoots to the Transylvanian trip already is enthusiastic talk of joining with an effort to actively
bring study of folk arts to young people through a summer camp program, with an invitation for Common Thread to be on staff.
Let us know if you are interested in participating in this idea.
I am glad that so many of you have been part of this neighborhood project and look forward to your continued support as
we move through phase three of re-connecting with our contacts in care centers throughout the Champlain Valley.
We have assembled a souvenir packet for you and it is available with a donation of $10. It includes some of the folk
designs for coloring, a few folksongs from Transylvania, a few pictures and journal entries from the Common Thread troupe
featuring Dan's haiku, information about the trip, and a bit of the wool collected from the villages and towns we visited.
With your donation you join the community effort to keep this connection alive.
I hope you enjoy its pages and that you will have a better idea what the area and people are like and how the trip went.
We also invite you to take a turn at the carder or the loom as the blanket progresses during the coming months at events
scheduled by Common Thread Cultural Connections.