Quilting & Community

Since we began lockdown just over 100 days ago, I’ve noticed the wonderful resurgence of projects like group quilts. It’s great to see how people are working together virtually and by post to create new work that comes together in the form of a digital or physical quilt.

I’m no stranger to collaborating in this way, having worked on some amazing projects in Leeds and Manchester. My first project of this kind was working with arthur+martha, the collaborative duo of Lois Blackburn and Philip Davenport. The Warm and the Cold worked with vendors at The Big Issue offices and patrons of The Booth Centre, sharing stories of warmth and cold.

Using quotes from our sessions we began to work on a collection of denim patches, recycled from jeans Lois had collected. Brightly coloured thread traced hand written phrases which came together in form of a Log Cabin quilt.

In 2018, I worked with The Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders, sharing skills with patients and staff to produce a collaborative piece called The Positive Patchwork.

The Positive Patchwork aims to spread messages of hope and optimism for the future, and to motivate us all to sustain positive changes in our lives. Patients and staff alike have learnt new skills such as embroidery, cross stitch, machine sewing and applique which they have been able to continue in their own time.

The process of making the banner itself allowed patients and staff to work together in a sociable and relaxed environment in order to improve confidence and mood. Everyone who was involved feels a real sense of achievement and pride in what we have made together.

I’ve worked alongside Matthew Bellwood and Alison Andrews from A Quiet Word on several projects in Leeds, most recently on The Seacroft Tapestry. Working with families, older people and primary school children we created a series of embroideries that came together as a quilt.

I’m excited to be working on some new collaborations in the next few weeks too.

If you fancy taking part in a quilt project here a few you can take a look at…

A Necklace of Stars – arthur+martha

19cm2 – Mimosa Ricketts

Stitch in Time – Envisage Arts CIC