Stitched Together was a two-year textiles project funded by Arts Council England, North Yorkshire County Council’s - Stronger Communities and Community Covenant. We worked in partnership with the Army Welfare Service supporting four local military groups at Catterick Garrison, Dishforth and Topcliffe. The project employed two textile artists to work with the groups, the lead artist was Dionne Swift and textile artist Carolann Allan joined the project in 2017.
The key aims of the project were to give the participants transferable skills and increase their confidence, self-esteem and links to the local community.
“It’s grown from a small project to become much bigger than we could have ever have expected, and the project has had a huge impact on participants’ confidence,” explains Kerry Palmer, Community Support Development Worker at the Army Welfare Service. Lucinda, who attended the Catterick Garrison group also said, “to give you an idea of how much this group means to me – tonight is my 20th wedding anniversary but my husband was happy that I was intending to go to Stitched Together!”.
Work made within the project displayed at The Green Howards Museum, Richmond in December 2017. The group were inspired by the museum’s textile collection and created messenger bags for the exhibition that reflect their experiences of military life and the sewing skills they have learnt. “The messenger bags are a twist on the bags that soldiers would use to carry their armaments” explains Dionne. “Textiles lend themselves to bringing people together. They’re really a vehicle to galvanise the group and to allow the women to support one another as a surrogate family.” Both Dionne and CarolAnn also made artworks that reflected their experiences working with the group.
In March 2018 the project was also shown at The Sewing and Stitching Show at Glasgow’s SEC, followed by the Fashion and Embroidery Show at Birmingham’s NEC with Dionne Swift.
Lynda Powell, Director at The Green Howards Museum commented, “Many of the pieces created draw inspiration from the uniforms and objects we have at the museum, and it’s great to be able to see those references in this exciting new exhibition.”