Embroidery project marks a stitch in time of lockdown

Imogen Edwards created this piece of art.

Imogen Edwards created this piece of art. - Credit: Imogen Edwards

A Harpenden seamstress has created a community embroidery project to mark the legacy of lockdown.

Katherine Hall, who runs Some Might Say Crafts tutorials, was inspired to set up the Harpenden Lockdown Embroidery Project to document people's pandemic experiences and their hopes for the future.

It has already had interest from more than 100 people, including schools, care homes, church groups, nurseries, Scouts and Brownies, but she would love to see this number grow.

Katherine, 39, said she started the project after being inspired by the book Threads of Life by Clare Hunter, which reveals how sewing has influenced world history over the centuries.

"It struck me how different the experience of lockdown is for different generations and circumstances - while some have achingly empty days others are fraught with home school and work, while many have been made redundant, others are being asked to work harder and longer than before, while some crave space away from their family, others are desperate to see loved ones again.

"I wanted to connect all these different experiences together in some way. 

Harpenden embroidery artist Katherine Hall.

Harpenden embroidery artist Katherine Hall. - Credit: Katherine Hall

"Embroidery, my current medium for creating, has been used for millennia to record historic events, for political protest and as a means of holding on to cultural identity.

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"It seemed to me that lockdown, with its far-reaching effects, was an appropriate subject for the craft.  To broaden accessibility for the project, however, there is no need to sew for those that are needle-shy. Fabric painting and applique (fabric collage) are also most welcome.

"I hope that crafting on a united project encourages community cohesiveness in this time of forced isolation.  Crafting has also long been associated with mindfulness and good mental health, which seems ever more pertinent given the impact of lockdown."

Participants are asked to create two patchwork squares - one reflecting an aspect of lockdown and the other about their hopes for the future.

Embroidery by Lou Best.

Embroidery by Lou Best. - Credit: Katherine Hall

The mother-of-three added: "I would love the patchwork to grow and reflect as broad a reach as possible across our community, across all age groups and abilities - in fact you don't even have to sew. Sewing the squares together into panels will create a visual representation of our community's lockdown and their hopes for the future. I hope it will be displayed locally for people to see.  I am also looking at making a catalogue of the squares so people can have a keepsake."

The first square Katherine received was made by local artist Julie Maginn.

The first square Katherine received was made by local artist Julie Maginn. She had never embroidered before making this piece. - Credit: Katherine Hall

All the information about how to join in can be found on the website: https://somemightsaycrafts.jimdofree.com/lock-down-project/