Criminal Quilts

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.

Buy the book here

Find the talks series here.

View the online exhibition (2020 version) here.

Supported by Arts Council England 2019


Criminal Quilts has many different strands:

 Archive & historical research 

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


Project background



This project has been funded by Arts Council England, Staffordshire County Council and Brewhouse Art Centre.