Criminal Quilts is an art & heritage project inspired by photographs and documents relating to women held in Stafford Prison 1877-1916, created and developed by me in partnership with Staffordshire Record Office. Following a period as Artist in Residence at Staffordshire Record Office, I created a touring exhibition and book of the project.
The original Criminal Quilts work was a commission for Shire Hall Gallery and I developed the work for a further 12 years to create a large body of work, a book and a broad following across academia, archives and art for this work. One of my earlier pieces for Criminal Quilts also won the Fine Art Quilt Masters prize in 2016.
The final exhibition with work from over 10 years was shown at Llantarnam Grange in 2022. The exhibition tour is now over and I am winding up the project. But you can still explore a lot of the work below.
There are three talks available, covering an introduction to the prisoner photographs, one about my textile work and one about my prison clothing research. These talks go nicely alongside the book which was written in 2018 with revisions in 2020. The book is available to buy here. There’s also the free film to watch below.
Supported by Arts Council England 2019
Criminal Quilts has many different strands:
Volunteer project doing archive research and creative activities
Creative residency at Wolverhampton University to create large-scale new work
Opportunities for students and communities to create artwork inspired by the research
A history display for Staffordshire libraries called Criminal Herstories
Creation of my own new artwork
Three exhibitions in 2018 and more in 2019 onwards
A book about the project containing both artwork and research
Working with community groups in Staffordshire who have limited access to art projects
Workshops, talks and events around Staffordshire and beyond
An academic symposium with Wolverhampton University
A short documentary film about the project
Blog posts documenting research and creative work
Talk and Masterclass at Festival of Quilts
- I have been working with these images since 2012 when I was commissioned by Shire Hall Gallery to make work for their historic court buildings
- I continued working on Criminal Quilts from 2013-2015 and these new pieces formed part of my solo exhibition Narrative Threads in 2015
- One of those pieces won the Fine Art Quilt Masters competition in 2016
- Read about the background to the project here
This project has been funded by Arts Council England, Staffordshire County Council and Brewhouse Art Centre.