Emina Košut is a knitter and a member of the CEW design studio. She can knit booties and socks with her eyes closed. Emina came to Chicago as a Bosnian refugee 17 years ago. She sought help at the Hamdard Center for her depression and PTSD due to witnessing violence and trauma as a result of the Bosnian war. Emina loves to knit and takes refuge in her handiwork as a way of coping. She especially likes to knit with her friends at the CEW studio.
Bàhra Puškar is a knitter and crocheter and a member of the CEW design studio. A master artisan, Bàhra's passion for making things with her hands exceeds all boundaries. Each handcrafted item is a work of art and each piece is unique. Bàhra came to Chicago as a Bosnian refugee 17 years ago. Crocheting and knitting is what relaxes her and is a part of her everyday life. For her, it is the only way she copes with the horror of war she experienced in Bosnia.
ǅemila Bešić is a knitter and crocheter and a member of the CEW design studio. Her mother and grandmother have lived in Chicago for the last 20 years. She has a passion for knitting, especially making hats, scarves and sweaters. She considers herself an expert with children’s clothing and finds great satisfaction knitting for her children and grandchildren. For her, knitting is a way to take a break and calm down. She learned the art of knitting from her mother as a child. All four of her children know how to knit--even her son.She also has a passion for making stone jewelry.
"This is something I have made with all my heart and soul."
Hajrija Nedzirević is a knitter and crocheter and a member of the CEW design studio. She has immigrated to Chicago from Bosnia. When asked what inspires her to create the things she does, she simply says, "It passes the time. It is how I fill my life."
Vera Bijedic is a knitter and crocheter and a member of the CEW design studio. She was a teacher before she moved from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Chicago. Vera came to Chicago with the help of a war relief organization 17 years ago. Subsequently, she worked at the Drake hotel for 13 years in the housekeeping department. The most difficult aspect of her move to Chicago was learning English. Vera knits as an eclectic artisan. She makes knitted and crocheted hats, scarves, blouses, and jackets. She loves making things with her hands, which she feels is her best therapy.
Anka Perazić is a master crocheter and a member of the CEW design studio. She immigrated to Chicago from Montenegro. Anka contributes a wild array of one-of-a-kind crocheted jewelry items to CEW's inventory. For Anka, crocheting makes her "feel full." She reflects on the process of making as one that takes her mind off problems, as a way to cope and forget the pain of missing her family.
Bio coming soon
Tahira Begum is a knitter and member of the CEW design studio. She lived her early adult life in Karachi, Pakistan. She moved to the United States to be with her children. Tahria Begum is grandmother to 12 grandchildren. She learns new designs from the women in the studio and frequently collaborates with her granddaughter on knitting projects.
Fikreta Cenanovic is a knitter, caseworker and translatorand a member of CEW. Fikreta recalls knitting during the war in Bosnia and during her time in refugee camps. Knitting for her nieces was a way to focus her mind on something other than the war. For the last 20 years Fikreta has not knitted since she was busy learning English and trying to settle in Chicago. She returned to her love of knitting by joining CEW, stating,“I missed doing this.”
Savneet Talwar is the CEW Project Director, a knitter, a crocheter, and a member of the CEW design studio. She is also an educator, art therapist, artist, cultural worker and activist. She teaches in the Art Therapy program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her passion for craft and fabrication led her to organize and collaborate with the CEW Design Studio. She is interested in the power of creativity as a tool for wellness and social change. Savneet’s research is focused on feminist politics, critical theories of difference, gendered labor practices and citizenship, employing a critical craft and social justice framework. Using craft and fabrication as a form of social practice in community settings, she is interested in creating dialogue surrounding issues of reproductive freedom, sexuality, the body, cultural trauma and social inequity. Emphasizing the performative nature of crafting, she is interested in questioning social engagement and change to generate meaning making.
Sophie Canadé is the CEW Program Coordinator, a knitter, a crocheter, and a member of the CEW design studio. She is also a feminist art therapist and craftivist with specialization in older adult care. Her work is informed and inspired by feminist theory, relational cultural theory, and social justice models. Among other contract work she is an art facilitator for Gilda's Club at various Chicago hospitals and an art therapist with the Institute for Therapy Through the Arts in Evanston, IL.
Ashley Fargnoli is the CEW Program Coordinator, knitter and a member of the CEW design studio. Ashley is also a dance/movement therapist, choreographer and dance activist. Before moving to Chicago, Ashley spent seven years abroad implementing numerous dance projects around the Balkans for post-conflict mediation. She has also worked with survivors of human trafficking from India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Ashley is dedicated to fostering social change and raising awareness about pertinent issues through dance performances.