Friday, 14 July 2017

A Quilt for Cumbria: The Heathlands Project

Completed patch for A Quilt for Cumbria

Usually at this time of year at The Heathlands Project I'm cursing quilts and promising myself that we're never going to make another quilt again. This year, however, I've found a cunning way to run a quilt project with my groups without me having to put it all together. Up for Arts Cumbria have been working on a BBC Get Creative project to make 'A Quilt for Cumbria.' They're asking people across Cumbria to make fabric patches showing things they love about Cumbria which will then be joined together by The Quilters Guild to make a beautiful community artwork that can go on show across the county.

Ideas sheet and designs

Designs and work in progress

Work in progress

For the past six years I've made a quilt each year with my textiles groups at Heathlands. The members and I always enjoy these projects and over the years we've created some beautiful and quirky pieces of textile art and I've seen their skills and confidence grow with each quilt.  Last year our theme was 'On the Beach' and we experimented with felt making which was a lot of fun. It's always a bit stressful at the end of the project as I never end up with quite as much time as I'd like to put all the work together as I like to give the members as much time as possible to work on their patches. This year I don't need to worry about that as I just have to support the guys to create their patches and then deliver them for someone else to construct. Lucky me!

Finished Patch

Finished Patch

Finished Patch

I think the idea of a quilt for Cumbria is a lovely one, it's a great way to celebrate our county and bring people together. Various groups are running patch making sessions and I'll be running a session later this month at The Eden Workshop to encourage as many people as possible to get involved. Crafting can be a really powerful social activity; it can bring people together with a shared purpose but is also nonthreatening, allowing people to come together and make new connections and get creative at the same time.

Finished Patch

Finished Patch (detail)

Finished Patch

My groups at The Heathlands Project have made some fantastic and very personal patches for the project. We've mostly been using fabric pens and pastels and stitch along with a bit of applique. Some of the patches are very densely worked, with layers of fabric and stitch. Some are packed with imagery whilst others focus on a particular area of interest. It's been really interesting finding out what Cumbria means to us and what each individual values most. One of the great things about a project like this is that provides opportunities to talk about important topics in an easy and accessible way.

Finished Patch (complete with a portrait of me!)

Finished Patch (detail)

Finished Patch

If you want to have a go and create a patch you have until September and finished patches can be dropped off or posted to BBC Radio Cumbria in Carlisle. I can't wait to see the finished piece, I hope the Quilters Guild know what they've let themselves in for!

Finished Patch

Finished Patch

Finished Patch (detail)

If you'd like to join me at The Eden Workshop on Friday 28th July for a patch making workshop please contact them for details.

Finished Patch (detail)

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