The warm /&/ the cold (2012)

Here are fragments of stories, the lives of homeless people, embroidered onto quilts and painted on ceramics, by the tellers themselves in collaboration with artists Lois Blackburn and Claire Parker and writer Philip Davenport. They are responses to simple questions – which don’t have simple answers. When were you warm? When were you cold? Created out of denim fabric, the quilt is made of denim from recycled pairs of jeans – twenty-seven in all.


The project challenges stereotypes about homelessness, combating hate crime against homeless people and emphasizing needs shared by us all – especially shelter and acceptance.

Phil said: “The quilts are traditional, but also represent warmth, hospitality and the home – and the stories they tell are preserved through touch. It’s a very ancient ritual we’ve tapped into, the passing on of personal histories.”

Lines from the denim quilt were shown as text animations by the BBC, on Big Screens in Manchester and Liverpool in November and December 2012.

In partnership with The Booth Centre and The Big Issue in the North. Supported by Arts Council England



160 Homeless participants, 22 student participants

Exhibited at 

2017  Manchester Central Library. Audience approx  57,000

2013 Summerhall, Edinburgh. Audience 2000

2012/13  Holden Gallery, Manchester. Audience 1000

2012/13 BBC Big Screens, Liverpool and Manchester. Audience approx 1,800,000

More information

Blog  On-line audience 9000

On-line portfolio

Press and media coverage

City Life

Manchester Evening News, one story and feature

The Big Issue


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