The project is the inspiration of the School’s Handwork Teacher, Fiona Cullen,
Community is at the heart of learning in our School. So this time of social distancing is particularly challenging as a teacher. While the community is dispersed I’ve been thinking about some kind of creative project that could bring people together when it is so difficult to distribute or get hold of resources.
A textile artist I admire very much, called Cas Holmes, wrote a book called ‘Stitch Stories’. I love the idea of stitch stories and it threw up a lot of interesting questions for me. What could we create to last? What kinds of stories could we tell of this very strange time?
For ‘Stitch Stories’ each member of the School community is being asked to create one postcard-size piece of stitched and collage work, telling their own story of this unique time. When we are finally able to return to School the story squares will all be sewn together into a series of hangings – providing a lasting record of the layers of community that have come together to create it.
‘Stitch Stories’ can be made by all ages and abilities – from age 3 to 103 – students, mums, dads, grandparents, teachers, trustees and friends of the School.
Stories can incorporate stitching, creative collaging, weaving, felting, knitting, crochet, collage, paint, print and more. Using themes of ‘make-do and mend’, stitchers are encouraged to use found or re positioned objects that have meaning or memories for them. Pieces from old favourite worn out clothing; photos, drawings, objects collected from places we have visited; old tea towels, curtains or snippets of favourite colour combinations.
You might like to dye some fabric using tea, onion skins or other dyes. You could think of an image or theme, a word or phrase to embroider or something from nature, something to represent an experience from this time. The idea is to use whatever comes to hand and inspires, to be playful and have fun and learn as you go.
The final ‘Stitch Story’ hangings will be a reflection of our community – diverse pieces coming together to form a whole. Our individual children, young people and adults, working together/apart, using their voice and personal expression, will have created the message we will all see. The final story will be one of the physical and human experience of community through co-operation and creativity.
Video of Stitch Stories Created
Start your Stitch Story – download the Project Information and Instructions
Stitch Story Community Project Overview
Instructions for Classes 1-3 (ages 6 to 9)
Instructions for Class 4/5 (ages 10-11)
Instructions for Class 6/7 (ages 12 -13)
Instructions for Middle/Upper School (ages 14 +)
The Benefits of Handwork
Textile crafting has all kinds of social and well-being benefits, providing a positive therapeutic impact on brain health and emotional wellness. It offers mental challenge and problem solving; social connection; mindfulness; development of hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and fine motor dexterity; focused attention and thoughts on a task; active creativity; a sense of pride and achievement; and facilitates patience and perseverance. Though we do lots of Handwork at our School, what was once so day-to-day and commonplace, is now rarely seen in the home. The hope is that the project will provide opportunities for families to share time together being creative and learning new skills.
Beyond the Classroom
Our buildings are closed …our learning continues. ‘Stitch Story’ is part of Cardiff Steiner School’s ‘Beyond the Classroom‘ distance learning programme during Covid-19. Our teachers and staff are providing inspiring solutions to deliver an effective learning programme that honours our curriculum; ensures all pupils are able to engage and progress in skills and interest, with individual needs supported; and keeps the indispensable human connections alive between us. As the whole world has adjusted and changed we are looking on this as an opportunity to apply creative solutions and keep alive a tangible sense of the School to which we all belong and look forward to returning to and standing in each-others’ company again.