Tag Archives: Red Tent space

How to Celebrate Menstruation

How would our world be different if girls were raised to honor their menstrual time? How would our world be different if our girls had some form of celebration when they first began to menstruate. How would your life be different if you were celebrated? Join us in the virtual “Red Tent” for today’s episode of Red Tent TV. After you’ve watched the episode, I’d love to know… How have you celebrated menstruation?

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Filed under ageing, and Hormone Cycle, blood, coming of age, From the filmmaker, growing up, Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, menstruation, menstruation video, Mood, moon, Moon Lodge, mooncycle, parenting, PMS

Ways to honor your menstrual cycle in your Red Tent

by Jane Hardwicke Collings & Susan Stark

This article is an excerpt from the eBook “How to Create a Red Tent

Keeping a monthly record of your cycle is a great way to connect in and identify recurring patterns or themes. As you record your experiences of each day of your cycle you will begin to see a common pattern emerging. Various journals and charts are available to support you in your charting. See the resource section for further information. Each week of the cycle offers a different opportunity or flow of energy that you can utilize in your life’s journey.

"How to Create a Red Tent" eBook. Available for $9.99 at: http://www.redtentmovie.com/eBook-create-a-red-tent.html
Below are some suggestions of how to work with the different energy inherent in each week of your cycle. This list is by no mean exhaustive and we would encourage you to be creative and adventurous in honouring your own individual cycle. Part of the journey is finding your own unique expression of your cycle and ways to support your own needs. Sharing your ways of being with your cycle in circle with other women is a great way to gather new ideas and ways of honouring yourself and others.

Week One:

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It is often difficult to find time to rest and retreat from our busy lives. The demands of family life and work can feel like obstacles to creating quiet sacred space for you to rest. For some women this may feel like an unwarranted luxury that they cannot afford themselves. However, retreat time does not need to be three solid days alone. Of course if you can create this then fantastic, but for many of us we need to find creative ways to lessen our daily activities and finding means to honour ourselves. We can create ways of taking ourselves out of the busy routines of everyday life and with practice those around will grow more accustomed to our need for retreat. After all, a well nurtured mother is able to hold her family with more grace and ease than someone tired and unhappy without time for refueling and rest. Having a relaxing bath by candle light or ensuring the freezer is stocked with dinner for a few nights are great ways to create a bit of space or ease. Ensuring that you don’t schedule in big events or parties is another good idea in honouring your need to be less social.

Some women choose to create a bleeding necklace to wear or make a mooonstick as an expression of their prayers for the coming cycle. Wearing red or choosing special jewellery to wear can also let others know that this is your bleeding time. Paying particular attention to your dreams and setting an intention to remember them is another great way to tap into your night time wisdom. Drawing, crafting, journaling or meditating are also other great ways to slow down and reflect. Some women choose their bleeding time to rearrange their altar or read that great novel they have been saving! It is a time to go slowly and be gentle with yourself. By quietening we open ourselves to hear the messages of our body, our heart and our spirit. Want to read more….

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barAbout the authors:

Jane Hardwicke Collings is amother, grandmother and an independent midwife, teacher, writer and menstrual educator. She gives workshops in Australia and internationally on mother and daughter preparation for menstruation, the spiritual practice of menstruation, and the sacred and shamanic dimensions of pregnancy and birth. Jane founded and runs The School of Shamanic Womancraft, formerly The School of Shamanic Midwifery, which focuses on preparing women to practice and teach conscious rites of passage, awareness of cycles (Earth, lunar, life and menstrual cycles), and the mind/body/spirit connection. www.schoolofshamanicmidwifery.com. Jane is the author of Ten Moons, the Inner Journey of Pregnancy, Thirteen Moons, How to chart your menstrual cycle (handbook and journal), Spinning Wheels (a guide to the cycles), and Becoming a Woman (a guide for girls approaching menstruation). www.moonsong.com.au

Susan Stark is a home birth Mother of four children, a Shamanic Guide, a practitioner and teacher of the Women’s Mysteries and Social Worker.  Susan is passionately committed to supporting women on their journeys of re-membering and transformation.  Susan currently offers circles and workshops in her own community and practices as a Counsellor working with children and young people.  Susan shares a deep connection to the Earth as Mother and Healer and honours every person’s unique journey to connection and wholeness.
Contact Susan: earthspiral@rocketmail.com

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Filed under growing up, how to create a Red Tent, menstruation, mooncycle

How to facilitate a “circle” in your Red Tent

by Jane Hardwicke Collings & Susan Stark

This article is an excerpt from the eBook “How to Create a Red Tent

In creating a monthly Red Tent you may like to consider the inclusion of a sharing circle. This is a space where women have an opportunity to share what is arising for them in their lives. You may choose to offer this sharing along a seasonal or lunar theme such as sharing moon prayers or intentions or using the seasonal festivals to let go of things that no longer serve. Or you may invite women to share whatever is arising for them in that moment.

"How to Create a Red Tent" eBook. Available for $9.99 at: http://www.redtentmovie.com/eBook-create-a-red-tent.html

In inviting women to share and speak in the circle it is important to agree on some key parameters that ensure the integrity of the space is upheld and women feel safe and heard. It is rare in our modern world to be truly heard without judgment or interference. One of the greatest gifts of a circle is the opportunity for women to speak unhindered and be heard. We can trust that we will all find our pathway to healing ourselves and being witness to a woman is an honour and gift for all.

Photos from Red Tents hosted by Aurora Rae. For more info: ourredtent.com/ Photo copyright: chrisloomisphotography

Photo from a Red Tent hosted by Aurora Rae. For more info: http://www.ourredtent.com/ Photo copyright: chrisloomisphotography

In many circles a bowl or item such as talking stick is passed around to symbolize whose ‘turn’ it is to speak. If using a bowl you may like to add things such as crystals, rescue remedy or other treasures and symbols a woman (if she chooses) can hold as she speaks. The first important parameter in this sharing space is “She who holds the bowl, speaketh!” Speaking in circle can be a scary thing for many women and it is important to honour and respect each woman’s courage. Some women may choose to say very little or nothing at all. Regardless, when a woman is holding the bowl it is her space and opportunity to speak or sit uninterrupted. This is not a time to offer advice or interject but rather open ourselves to be fully present to another’s story and unfolding.

Encourage women to speak in the first person and take responsibility for what arises for them. The container you have created together is a safe place to express and be whatever we need to be in that moment. There is no need to ‘pat down’ a woman’s emotions with soothing words or tissues but rather allow and trust her unfolding as a trusted pathway to healing and transformation.

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Red Tent Temple hosted by ALisa Starkweather at the Grail Lady Faire in Bancroft, Ontario, Canada

The remainder of the women are encouraged to sit in witness, holding space and listening with compassion. Encourage women to withhold their judgment and understand that any feelings that arise in listening to another woman are opportunities for our own insight and understanding. The Red Tent is a place where we can be true to ourselves. It is a safe place with many opportunities for insight and transformation. You may like to consider asking for an agreement of confidentiality in supporting to maintain this integrity.

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barAbout the authors:

Jane Hardwicke Collings is amother, grandmother and an independent midwife, teacher, writer and menstrual educator. She gives workshops in Australia and internationally on mother and daughter preparation for menstruation, the spiritual practice of menstruation, and the sacred and shamanic dimensions of pregnancy and birth. Jane founded and runs The School of Shamanic Womancraft, formerly The School of Shamanic Midwifery, which focuses on preparing women to practice and teach conscious rites of passage, awareness of cycles (Earth, lunar, life and menstrual cycles), and the mind/body/spirit connection. www.schoolofshamanicmidwifery.com. Jane is the author of Ten Moons, the Inner Journey of Pregnancy, Thirteen Moons, How to chart your menstrual cycle (handbook and journal), Spinning Wheels (a guide to the cycles), and Becoming a Woman (a guide for girls approaching menstruation). www.moonsong.com.au

Susan Stark is a home birth Mother of four children, a Shamanic Guide, a practitioner and teacher of the Women’s Mysteries and Social Worker.  Susan is passionately committed to supporting women on their journeys of re-membering and transformation.  Susan currently offers circles and workshops in her own community and practices as a Counsellor working with children and young people.  Susan shares a deep connection to the Earth as Mother and Healer and honours every person’s unique journey to connection and wholeness.
Contact Susan: earthspiral@rocketmail.com

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How to Create a Red Tent Altar

by Jane Hardwicke Collings & Susan Stark

This article is an excerpt from the eBook “How to Create a Red Tent

"How to Create a Red Tent" eBook. Available for $9.99 at: http://www.redtentmovie.com/eBook-create-a-red-tent.html

An Altar can be your own private Sacred Space in your home, or work place, or a group altar in a shared space, or the central altar or direction altars in a ceremony. In holding a Red Tent you may like to create a central altar around which you will sit as a group.

The altar contains symbols and talismans of the work you intend to do together. For example, if your focus is on women’s cycles you could have a collection of treasures that map the cycle around a circle, or perhaps various items that the participants have brought with them.

Red Tent altar examples from around the world

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You can also have either around the outside of your seated or standing circle or within the central space, an altar to each direction (East, North, West, and South). These will serve the purpose of assisting you in invoking the directions and holding the sacred space you create by making a literal ‘container’ in which you sit. A central candle or Mother Candle may be placed in the centre of your altar. As part of your opening ritual you may like to light this candle and invoke deities or say a prayer for your circle. Women may also like to bring special treasures or things from nature to add to the Red Tent altar. These could be along a theme such as connecting in with our cycles or the season. Together you will weave a focal point of your Red Tent and use the altar as a way to set intention and holding.

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barAbout the authors:

Jane Hardwicke Collings is amother, grandmother and an independent midwife, teacher, writer and menstrual educator. She gives workshops in Australia and internationally on mother and daughter preparation for menstruation, the spiritual practice of menstruation, and the sacred and shamanic dimensions of pregnancy and birth. Jane founded and runs The School of Shamanic Womancraft, formerly The School of Shamanic Midwifery, which focuses on preparing women to practice and teach conscious rites of passage, awareness of cycles (Earth, lunar, life and menstrual cycles), and the mind/body/spirit connection. www.schoolofshamanicmidwifery.com. Jane is the author of Ten Moons, the Inner Journey of Pregnancy, Thirteen Moons, How to chart your menstrual cycle (handbook and journal), Spinning Wheels (a guide to the cycles), and Becoming a Woman (a guide for girls approaching menstruation). www.moonsong.com.au

Susan Stark is a home birth Mother of four children, a Shamanic Guide, a practitioner and teacher of the Women’s Mysteries and Social Worker.  Susan is passionately committed to supporting women on their journeys of re-membering and transformation.  Susan currently offers circles and workshops in her own community and practices as a Counsellor working with children and young people.  Susan shares a deep connection to the Earth as Mother and Healer and honours every person’s unique journey to connection and wholeness.
Contact Susan: earthspiral@rocketmail.com

 

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The Role of a Red Tent “Priestess”

by Jane Hardwicke Collings & Susan Stark

This article is an excerpt from the eBook “How to Create a Red Tent

The Red Tent Priestesses play a vital role in ensuring the set up and smooth running of the Red Tents. Their role is to hold space for women using the tent, allowing women to be inward and undisturbed in their own process. The Priestesses will hold the space in a quiet, respectful manner modeling and therefore encouraging others to also be accommodating, generous, serving, caring and grateful.

"How to Create a Red Tent" eBook. Available for $9.99 at: http://www.redtentmovie.com/eBook-create-a-red-tent.html

The Priestesses may choose to wear red and dress to celebrate their own inner Goddess. They may be available to drum softly for women in the tent and will also take responsibility for keeping the space clean and beautiful. Water and any other replenishables also need to be maintained throughout the duration of the tent. You may request that event organizers provide a suitable gazebo or tent which you can then set up. If no tent is available you may like to consider buying or borrowing a tent. We have found that either a 3 metre square or 6 x 3 metre tent works well. Mats and cushions can be placed on the floor and curtains hung (using rope) to create a dark quiet space. Consider the climate in which you offer your tents. Some tents have attached sides that can be lifted to allow flow through breeze. Others have a small ventilation on the top. This is particularly useful in hotter temperatures. Experimenting with different combinations of curtains, fabric and and tents will allow you to create the most suitable environment for your Red Tent.

Once the Red Tent space is created and decorated, the Priestesses are invited to smudge (see section on creating sacred space) the space in preparation for receiving women into the Tent. Smudging may need to be done at various times over the day to clear and cleanse the space. This will be done at the Priestesses discretion. A bowl of water in the Tent that is regularly emptied and refilled can also serve this purpose. Priestesses may also like to call in the Directions and set a collective intention for the space. In dissembling the Red Tent, the Directions need to be released with gratitude.

ebook

 

barAbout the authors:

Jane Hardwicke Collings is  a mother, grandmother and an independent midwife, teacher, writer and menstrual educator. She gives workshops in Australia and internationally on mother and daughter preparation for menstruation, the spiritual practice of menstruation, and the sacred and shamanic dimensions of pregnancy and birth. Jane founded and runs The School of Shamanic Womancraft, formerly The School of Shamanic Midwifery, which focuses on preparing women to practice and teach conscious rites of passage, awareness of cycles (Earth, lunar, life and menstrual cycles), and the mind/body/spirit connection. www.schoolofshamanicmidwifery.com. Jane is the author of Ten Moons, the Inner Journey of Pregnancy, Thirteen Moons, How to chart your menstrual cycle (handbook and journal), Spinning Wheels (a guide to the cycles), and Becoming a Woman (a guide for girls approaching menstruation). www.moonsong.com.au

Susan Stark is a home birth Mother of four children, a Shamanic Guide, a practitioner and teacher of the Women’s Mysteries and Social Worker.  Susan is passionately committed to supporting women on their journeys of re-membering and transformation.  Susan currently offers circles and workshops in her own community and practices as a Counsellor working with children and young people.  Susan shares a deep connection to the Earth as Mother and Healer and honours every person’s unique journey to connection and wholeness.
Contact Susan: earthspiral@rocketmail.com

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How Women hold Space for one another : Acknowledgment as an act of the Sacred

by Hollie B.

lunation.com.au

I give thanks to my dear Sister who agreed to my sharing of this story. I have chosen not to use her name. Because that’s not what’s important in this Story. So for now, she is called ‘this Woman’.

This is a Story about why I believe all Women benefit from sharing Story in a Red Tent. I don’t so much believe that every Woman needs to speak to share their Story in the Red Tent. But each Woman may find healing through Being present with shared Stories.

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I know this Woman who is employed in a place where She sees the absolute worst in human behaviour. Anything awful You can imagine, this Woman has probably seen it, heard of it, or been exposed to a story of it in some way. I’m not exaggerating, and I’m not trying to bring You into a yuk Space, I just want to paint a very clear picture of how different this Woman’s everyday life is compared to many of us.

She has an awesome partner. In this case, her partner is a man, but it is not his gender that is important. What I take from this story is that her husband is there for her in the sense that anything awful that she needs to download from work, she can share with him and she knows he can take it. He works there too.

Home life is good for this Woman. Her children have grown and they are doing their own thing. She celebrates their maturity, knowing that their Journey is their own. Anything that causes stress from work, gets talked about before coming home, and left on the road. In other words, she doesn’t bring it home with her. She has a relationship with her husband, that although has had pain and grief in the past, is healed and in an Awesome Space now. She’s done Circles for healing her menarche and healing her mother-issues and letting go of the past and… In other words, right now, even though there are things that bother her in her worklife, and she knows there will still be Life Work to do, yet she feels fairly sorted.

Is that to suggest that this Woman doesn’t need an Experience such as a Red Tent? Like, she’s fairly sorted so she doesn’t need to sit around with other Women to talk about ‘issues’. She’s got her husband afterall. If he’s so Awesome, why would she need to go along to a Red Tent? She’s already got understanding and a soundboard for whenever she does have an issue. She feels supported at home…

Well, recent experiences have taught me that actually yes, she does still need the Red Tent Experience. This is not something I’ve come to on my own by the way. This isn’t something I’m coming at from my place of advice and an ‘I know what You need attitude’. Actually, it comes straight from this Woman’s mouth.

But the reason might not be what you’re thinking.

This Woman, wants to Be witness to other Women’s stories. She understands that everyone needs a place to share – to vent – to speak – to let go – and everyone needs to feel heard in that.

This Woman does not believe that She has ‘no issues’. But she does feel that the ‘everyday’ things she is haunted with are not for the ears of anyone outside of her industry. It’s not about being selfish. It’s not about coming and hearing everyone else’s ‘stuff’ and not adding anything to the energy. Actually, it’s about finding the Right place (for her) to share her stories, and entering the Sacred Space so that it is held Sacred. For this Woman, she feels depth in being the Witness. She isn’t there to give advice, or story-compete (Oh Yes I’ve seen lots of that), nor is she in the Red Tent to suppress some sort of need to feel special by being different.

Put simply, this Woman finds depth in the Work of witnessing other Women’s stories. In the act of acknowledgement – as witness to other Women and where they are in the moment – she becomes a Sacred Keeper of Tradition and Compassion. When she has something to say, she does. But for the most part, She helps hold the Space. She sits listening, without judgement – accepting of the Story as it is. She nurtures Women who do need to share. And She is content to Be.

Recently a number of events played out in front of me that really anchored this understanding for me. I saw many aspects of this Story. I heard the words ‘I’m fine’ while watching the body language that said ‘don’t fucken push me cos I will break – and I don’t want to break right now!’ I felt the acceptance of this Space while watching other Women go on the finger pointing mission of trying to ‘help’ and offer advice. I saw the break down of safe and Sacred energy with that pushing. I felt the pain of this Woman in not feeling accepted for where she needed to Be with other Women. I felt the distrust from Women who held expectations about sharing. The next day I felt Truth and Realness pour from the heart of this Woman as we shared together how that happened and where she would have liked it to Be. And it was in that conversation that I got clear around one very important aspect of the Red Tent.

I understood already that Women need to speak. I understood already that for a long time Women have not been heard. I have also noticed often that there are times when Women just talk for the sake of it. I have noticed that even when You suggest as a facilitator that everyone can keep their opinions and advice to themselves, and just let a Woman Be in her Space, they just can’t help themselves giving advice and opinions and cutting People off. I have noticed that some Women have a need to agree and say ‘You’ll be right’ and ‘You’re strong’ and ‘You can do it’ in response to another Woman’s Story. And I’ve noticed that this is not only un-helpful, it’s fucking disrespectful.

Red Tent

My Red Tent and Women’s Spaces aren’t for feel good pep-talks. I facilitate Spaces for Women to Be. And to feel supported in that Being. In these Spaces it doesn’t matter who we are at home. What we do at work. What we have to do tomorrow. We just get to Be exactly as we are – in whatever Space – in that moment – without apologies. And we get to do it in a supported Space.

And what I became clear around, thanks to this Woman, is that I really want for the Red Tent Experiences that I facilitate for Women to feel the Power of sharing Stories, simply through Being Witness.

And then that got me thinking (it’s fairly on-the-go in my mind – when thinking is on, it’s really on until clarity is found). Although the Red Tent Experience happens in its own way, and Women share whatever they need in relation to that day, that moment; there’s still some things that some of us need to heal – and we don’t necessarily have a safe Space to do this in. Some of those ‘issues’ are older than ‘this moment and this day’, and we’re not necessarily sure how to bring them up. A ‘general’ Red Tent for sharing, although beauty-full and healing, may not always get to the deepest seat of what we need to heal.

It’s a bit daunting to bring up our miscarriages and our terminations and our divorce and how to raise our sons and daughters and our mental illness and our mother issues and our body image perceptions and… in a space full of Women who we have never met, or whom we only see every now and then. It’s particularly daunting to suddenly bring out the deep Stories of grief and loss that have been pushed down for a long time, or never given a Space. For example, it’s not easy to start talking about the abortion You never dealt with emotionally ten years ago, when the Woman next to You is talking about how she loves being a parent.

I always find it so deeply moving to hear stories from Women about things I’ve never experienced. Whether the Story is about joy or loss, it is the difference that I find mySelf inspired by. I feel honoured when a Woman shares something new to me. That is the journey of the Witness. It is quite beauty-full.

The essence of the Red Tent is the commonality of Being Woman. Always in the Story, even when we have not had the same experiences, it is the sharing that moves us. In one Woman’s Story of pain or hope or joy or loss, we find something of ourSelf. And we grow. That is True healing. That is how we fill our cup. Whether You are the Story-teller or the Witness. There is something for every Woman in the Red Tent.

And so, this leads us to the renewed, improved and fully awesome Red Tent Experience of 2013. We are diving deep. We are creating Space for Stories with intention. We are allowing room for Women to share and to respond authentically. We are opening a doorway for Women to Witness and find Truth around the Way we speak and respond. And we are Working with the Red Tent, to simply Be.

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Filed under coming of age, friendship, growing up, Guest Blogger, healing, Hollie B., how to create a Red Tent, red tent, sacred space, women's stories

How I made my Red Tent

by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD

In March 2012, I had a dream that I wanted every screening of “Things We Don’t Talk About” to be in a giant Red Tent that would travel around with me in a 2 suitcases and be big enough for up to 300 people. But how was this going to work logistically?

Red Tent at a screening

The filmmaker’s Red Tent at a screening of “Things We Don’t Talk About”

I have been a participant in the Red Tent movement since it began and I have helped set up many Red Tents and Red Tent Temples. But the set up always took a LONG time, with hours and hours of labor by numerous women. So how was I going to make it easy to create a huge Red Tent for a screening if it took so much time to create a small one for only 20 women? As I thought about it, one problem that always came up with building the Red Tent was the different size fabrics. The fabrics were often donated curtains, sheets, or yardage. Most yardage is 44 inches or 56 inches wide. While some of the pieces were very long, they were also very narrow and could not cover an entire wall.

How to create it?

I created large panels of fabric that were all the same size and could cover a wall very quickly and without much thought to the design (when it was being hung). So from March 2012 to May 2012, I had an opportunity to have a studio space at the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, a fabric museum, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison while I was finishing my PhD and the film. It wasn’t really a studio space, it was more of an empty room with a large bulletin board so I could pin up the different fabrics and create the design for the panels. Almost all of the fabric that I used to create my panels where donated, found at the thrift store, or purchased cheaply on Ebay. The decorative materials that I purchased on Ebay were Indian Sari and Uzbek Suzani. Which were both large and inexpensive ways of adding beautiful fabrics to the plain yardage.

Having spent many summers with my grandmother, who was a talented quilter, I have some sewing and design skills. If this is not a talent you have, my suggestion is to reach out to your friends and family members. There must be someone in your community that can sew and that could help you. Basically the gist of it is to take all of the small pieces of fabric and sew them together in a pattern that you like so that it saves time when you put up your Red Tent. I have found that it takes about 5 minutes to put up one of my panels. For your space, wouldn’t it be nice if you had a beautiful Red Tent that could go up in about 20 minutes or less?

My panels are 15 feet wide by 13 feet tall. I chose 13 feet tall for myself because most ceilings at either 8 feet or 12 feet and I wanted to make sure that my panels would drape on the floor a little bit if I was in a 12 foot space. As for why I created my panels 15 feet wide, that was the size of my bulletin board, but you can chose any width. I would suggest maybe at least 10 feet wide.

Here are examples of some of my Red Tent panels.

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To see more example of what the panels look like in different screening venues click here.

How to Hang it?

The second problem that I found with setting up numerous Red Tents was how to hang the fabric. Most groups use thumbtacks or staples to hang the fabric on the wall. But this was a not a good solution for me because I want to do 400 screenings of “Things We Don’t Talk About.” If I put a thumbtack into my fabric that many times it would shred the fabric after just a few events. I also wanted to be gentle on the space and not put a million holes in the wall. So I put grommets along the top edge of all of my panels at intervals of 1 foot. So there are 15 grommets in each panel.

Grommets

Grommets

I hang my Red Tent using 1 of 2 methods:

  • My favorite is using a 3” binder ring, which I purchased from Office Depot. I put the binder ring through the grommet and then I clip or hang the ring onto things in the space like the grid for a drop ceiling, poles, wall sconces, crown molding, nails already in the space, window frames, etc.
  • My other solution is to put a thumbtack into the wall and then hang the grommet on the thumbtack. I don’t often use this method because I don’t like to leave holes in the wall, but when this is my only option I have found that a thumbtack every 3 feet is sufficient.

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