Voices From The Inside

After a reflective break from posting on all things textile and dress related, I could not think of a better way to return back into action than with requests to post on my blog!

What a honour…

Doddington Hall

This summer sees celebrations for the Magna Carta. Yet, voices will be heard at Doddington Hall during the staging of a fascinating exhibition of quilts and needlework entitled ‘Voices From The Inside’. Before it opens on Sunday 14th June 2015 lets explore how the project stitched itself together!

The exhibition will explore what it means to be ‘inside’ and the power of stitchwork to communicate, rehabilitate and heal. Curated in partnership with Fine Cell Work (the charity that trains men and women in prison to do high-quality, paid needlepoint). There will be several pieces made by prisoners, alongside other works made by nuns, carers, invalids, soldiers and artists.

Approximately twenty quilts displayed throughout the hall. They will fascinate and intrigue the general public, revealing sewing and stitching to high standards that takes skill, patience, time and practice. Explore and observe the extraordinary handiwork for yourself and imagine the lives of those who made them.

The exhibition will reveal a wide array of intricately-stitched and beautifully-finished handmade quilts, each with its own unique history and story – revealing the almost forgotten memories of communities. Tracy Chevalier‘s highly moving ‘Sleep Quilt’, made in Wandsworth Prison, brings to light what sleep means to the maker of each section whilst the inspirational ‘Help For Heros Quilt’ strikes a poignant note. Artist Grayson Perry has loaned his ‘Right to Life’ quilt.

Fine Cell Work have been working within our prisons for many years and give prisoners an opportunity to learn a skill and affect a change within themselves, a change that in turn helps to benefit the wider community. The organisation makes items that are in turn sold to support future projects; you will see that some of the quilts displayed are for sale during the exhibition!

To compliment the exhibition a series of inspirational workshops will invite participants to make: a quick patchwork quilt in a day, make a patchwork bag from Liberty prints, learn about improvised piecing and learn how to make cathedral window patchwork.

‘Voices From The Inside’ will run until 31st August 2015 and be available to the general public on open days (Wednesdays, Sundays & Bank Holiday Mondays – 12noon – 4pm). Entry to the exhibition is included with House and Gardens admission. Adult £9.50 – Family £26.00 – Child £4.75. Groups are very welcome by private appointment outside of standard opening times – please contact our House Manager to discuss 01522 694 308 or email info@doddingtonhall.com. 

Note quilt photographs featured  in the post are courtesy of Fine Cell Work.

This post was written in collaboration with Susanna Plummer at Doddington Hall. If you are interested in writing a post in collaboration with the author of Textile and Dress Historian please email textileanddresshistorian@gmail.com.