We are delighted that the War Widows Quilt will make its public debut at the Queen’s House, Royal Museums Greenwich 7-11 November, for Remembrance weekend. Over 90 war widows from across Britain have made the quilt, honouring the untold history of war widows. The quilt will be on exhibition all weekend.
“An amazing project, a piece of history for all, for the present and the future. A quilt of unending love, pain and grief. A quilt of great honour, a true work of art.”
Theresa Davidson (contributor and war widow)
The quilt, made in collaboration with arthur+martha, is part of the War Widows’ Stories project, led by Dr Nadine Muller (Senior Lecturer in English Literature & Cultural History, Liverpool John Moores University) and the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain (WWA). Lois led the quiltmaking, Phil oversaw the writing.
Using embroidery, poetry and repurposed uniforms, this is a deeply-emotional artwork. Behind the squares in the quilt and each poem are stories of grief and new beginning. All the women involved tell their stories on their own terms and in their own words:
”I found it very emotive doing the stitching, to sew those dates, to acknowledge them so publicly. It was a stark reality, physically sewing. The years might pass, but the pain never goes away.”
Shirley Dodd Clark (contributor and war widow)
The quilt is stitched with poems, names and significant dates. Pockets contain hidden lives. Inside are writings, photos, newspaper cuttings, memories. Some are sewn shut, others can be opened.
“The things we felt but never ever had the chance to say”
Brenda Hillman (contributor and war widow)
The War Widows’ Quilt helps to break the deafening silence that has surrounded the experience of war widows for too long. But loss is universal. Made by and for war widows, this is a quilt that will bring comfort to anyone who has experienced grief. It is ultimately about all of us…
“Sewing my square gave me a strange sort of peace. I could think about how (my husband) died while I stitched so the sewing was giving me a control. It’s hard to explain but it worked for me.”
Lauran Hamilton (contributor and war widow)
The launch and celebration of the War Widows’ Quilt will be at Queen’s House, Ground Floor, Great Hall. 5pm-8pm all welcome. This event allows you to hear about the lives of war widows in their own words and to see the quilt. The War Widows’ Association of Great Britain, is a group that exists to improve the conditions of War Widows and their dependants in Great Britain.
The War Widows’ Stories was supported by Arts Council England, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Liverpool John Moores University. It was run in partnership with Royal Museums Greenwich. We are especially indebted to the War Widows’ Association of Great Britain.