I’ve recently been commissioned to make a centenary quilt for Harefield Hospital. The NHS hospital began its medical life as an ANZAC hospital, during the First World War. The then owner of the 18th century house and estate was an Australian and gave over his house and grounds to create a facility for his countrymen. The hospital continued to grow and in the 30s became a TB hospital and eventually an NHS hospital specialising in lung and heart treatments.
Harefield archive photo
In 1917 a quilt was made to fundraise for the hospital and this quilt has inspired the new commission from Royal Brompton and Harefield Arts.
Harefield Hospital Anzac Quilt
I’m running a series of workshops for staff, patients, former patients and local communities at the hospital in June to create elements of a new quilt which I will be creating for permanent display, alongside the original quilt, in the hospital.
We had our first taster workshops at the Anzac tea party last week and talked to lots of enthusiastic people about the workshops and commission. I’ll be blogging regularly about the development of the quilt and the project in general over the summer months up to the launch in September.
Harefield Hospital commission first workshop (Ruth Singer)
This October, Leicester Footpaths group are running a Green Festival Of Making and Mending and I am helping with the sewing aspects.
During the Festival on 31st October 2015 I will be running a stall sharing ideas on how to do more complicated mends and revitalise your clothes and household textiles including replacing elastic and invisible zips, reinforcing weak fabric, added faced hems, fixing knits, mending delicate fabrics underwear and vintage clothes. I’ll also be able to help out with mending bags, rucksacks and other practical items. I will also be selling tools and materials for repair including lingerie elastic and darning wool as well as zips and buttons.
Mending volunteers required! Can you already darn / mend or would you like to learn and pass on the skills?
I’m looking for volunteers to be part of my mending circle at the festival. Please get in touch if you can help out for an hour or two on the day.
I recently completed a short project for Sustainable Harborough using natural dyes and local plants to create a textile wall hanging for the local library. They asked me to propose a workshop for a town centre activity day which local people could join in with and result in something attractive and informative for display at the end.
Plants and flowers ready for printing
Bundles in the dye pot
More drying at the studio
Working out the layout
Finished wall hanging
Wall hanging detail
Wall hanging detail showing information labels
Handover in Harborough Library
I devised a simple natural dye workshop using easy, non-toxic natural dyes and local plants to create eco-prints on reclaimed silk from an old wedding dress. Each person taking part chose their own flowers and leaves to create bundles with and then added their tied bundle to either turmeric or beetroot / tea dye pot. Participants came back an hour or more later to unwrap and reveal their bundles. We got some really stunning patterns and details in the prints, which amazed and fascinated everyone who took part – including my assistant Erica!
Above all, this simple project showed how easy it can be to engage all ages in sustainability issues through simple, creative activities. All ages took part in the workshop and all were equally fascinated to discover that you can create such wonderful colours using (mainly) what grows in your garden. A drop-in activity like this is an easy way to talk to people about the environmental issues around textiles and dyes and to encourage a closer appreciation and exploration of what is growing in our local parks, wastelands or gardens.
Find out more about commissioning a project or activity here. I love the challenge of creating events and activities tailored to specific venues, themes or projects.