I’ve just completed a rather lovely project in Burnley called Touch and Flow. I was asked to facilitate a series of hand stitch workshops with a group of carers and to give them the opportunity to explore the Gawthorpe Hall Textile handling collection.
If you’ve never visited Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham then you must! They have a beautiful and fascinating collection of textile objects and costumes, collected over the decades by Miss Rachel Kay Shuttleworth.
You can find out more about her and Gawthorpe here
The weekly workshops took place at Burnley Mechanics. I brought along tea china that belonged to my Great Aunt and we spent the sessions slow stitching with a steady supply of tea and biscuits.
The sessions were aimed at carers, giving them a chance to get out of the house, chat to other people and do something slow, relaxing and totally unpressured. Over the weeks we built a core group of lovely people who shared stories, supported each other, made some very beautiful artworks and brought in precious objects from their own histories, including textile objects, photographs and old patterns, somebody even brought in fragments of wallpaper they’d saved from their first home.
I started the group off with images printed onto calico stretched onto hoops. I wanted to get away from the pressure of a blank ‘canvas’ and the local landscape photos seemed a good start point for people to explore stitch and find their own style.
Some people stuck with this and produced several beautiful pieces, taking them home to work on in between. Other people hand stitched A Gawthorpe pin cushion bird, based on a beautiful little yellow bird in the handling collection or made little tea light jars.