“..I’m glad you like it as it was a joy to stitch. Your idea just sparked something inside me, making me want to do some stitching which was very welcome as I’m finding it difficult to settle to anything at the moment.”
Participant, Here Comes the Sun
I’m beginning to hear recurrent themes in the feedback to our two current projects Here Comes the Sun and A Necklace of Stars. Many of our participants are finding it difficult to settle to anything. People describe having fuzzy heads, being overly tired, difficulties in even making even small decisions.
“What’s stopping me? It’s the state of things, I’m normally busy, involved with other things. Normally I paint and paint and sew and sew, but I haven’t in ages. It’s been very, very strange. I can go outside, and talk to my neighbours, and clap for the NHS, but it’s the first time in my life I’ve been like this. I need something to give me a kick up the backside.”
Participant A Necklace of Stars
But counter to that, I have had heard from many other people saying that doing something creative is helping them re-focus and spark something in the brain. How interesting our brains are!
For many it has given a prompt to create something with embroidery for the first time in many years and connect with different generations of the same family:
“Thank you so much from my daughter and I for encouraging us to dig out my late grandmothers stash of embroidery threads to choose some sunny colours for our sun quilt squares. My grandmother was a very enthusiastic and skilled needlewomen and she would have loved the idea of this quilt…. (about her daughters embroidery) It is a while since I picked up an embroidery needle and as my stitches show I am more than a little rusty (for which I appologise) I have, however really enjoyed focusing on something creative during these strangest of times. We look forward to seeing the finished quilt.”
Participant, Here Comes the Sun.
One of the delights of the projects is the way news spreads by word of mouth. Having a project to work on gives us all opportunities to think, talk and focus on something different with friends and family, an escape from the news, and Covid.
Have shared widely, and this has kick-started a WhatsApp group, as I was asked to set up a crafty one a couple of weeks ago. We can encourage each other daily in there and do other bits and bobs too.
Participant, Here Comes the Sun
What a beautiful idea. I’m definitely going to do this, and share with friends
But there is always more sharing to do, the more people engaged in our projects with different perspectives on life, the more exciting and greater the depth the project our project gains.
Everyone signed up to our project A Necklace of Stars is currently housebound. Many where before the lock down. So far we have worked with people aged from 65 to 90. Many haven’t done any embroidery since school, but some are very experienced and confident in the creative arts. Everyone has a unique way of looking at the theme of the stars, everyone a story to tell.
Phil and I continually look at ways we can make the projects accessible to everyone, whatever their circumstances. Thanks to support from Arts Council England, we’re thrilled to be working with Booth Centre to invite people who are, or have been homeless to join in. They are being invited to draw suns that our volunteers will stitch on their behalf, a kind of art commissioning without any money changing hands. In addition I will be sending out packs of needles, threads and materials to people at the Booth who want to have a go at sewing themselves. I’m so thrilled to be working in this way and can’t wait to see how it progresses.
Todays blog was written by Lois Blackburn, lead artist arthur+martha
Here Comes the Sun, A quilt in the time of Covid 19. Part of the Whisper to me Alone project.