I am passionate about textiles and textile art and have been for over 40 years. I have shared this passion with the WI in running feltmaking sessions. My friend saw the advert first and immediately thought of me, urging me to apply. I did not need a second push and I submitted my application! I was so excited about joining in with other like-minded WI ladies, meeting the students and joining in with the workshops and lectures. It has been an amazing experience; I have learnt much, and the students have been wonderful. I felt supported throughout the process and the WI team have been amazing. I would not hesitate in joining in again and I would urge anyone to do the same. I have made two responses to the project from different perspectives.
This purple piece of textile art is made using a wet-felt process and embellishing with stitching. The inspiration came from the alleviating loneliness campaign and the work of the WI and UAL in this project. The initial design came from circles representing the different WI groups and how they join together to make a whole. The carded threads and wool depict the individuals in each group and how each group has people with common interests, in this case, textiles. The form evolved into the final piece with each of the federations joining together and being represented in the final shape. A felted cord was applied to depict the common thread that links both the WI members in the project and the students and staff at UAL connected with a unifying passion for textiles. This was further stitched into place with each thread depicting the members, students and staff that took part in the project. Making new connections through a common interest, connecting us all.
Inspired by the alleviating loneliness campaign, this very large wet felted object stemmed from the concept of pockets, where we keep our personal items safe and close to our body. I wanted to make something that would be used outside in our village to send messages of make, care, share, to members of our community wider than the WI. The wall hanging would be kept outside in a public place (post-COVID restrictions), in each pocket would be a small take away pocket with a gift inside.
The pocket would also have inside instructions for making another small pocket that would replace the one taken; knitted, sewn, or crocheted, using any spare wool or fabric they have to hand. Small amounts of wool or material could also be placed alongside the instructions for making. A small gift would also be placed inside the handmade pocket, I have suggested a small finger knitted flower that perhaps a child could make. The gift could also be a poem, drawing or short note of well-wishing. The concept is that the felted hanging is a depository for bringing people together by making a craft to show the WI care by sharing a gift, that could continue to bring people together. A website could be created alongside a Facebook page to perhaps advertise and keep track of makers and recipients.
Georgina Spry, Farndon and District WI (Cheshire Federation) about her involvement in the Chelsea College of Arts & WI project.