An original article written for Creative by Liz Guppy a resident of East Worlington, a “sewer”and amateur textile artist.
I am a retired primary school teacher. I trained in the 1960s as a Home Economics teacher and taught textiles and cookery for some years before transferring to primary teaching. I always loved working with textiles in my classrooms and have made sewing and textile art my retirement hobby. This village project with the children in the village school was one that captured my imagination.So this story begins in 2015 in a small mid Devon village called Worlington. There are East and West villages close together hidden from the main roads on a south facing slope looking out over the Little Dart river and each with their own ancient church.
During the last few years our village community has been involved in a Heritage project to update and refurbish a wonderful 17th century thatched barn which is our village hall.
Funding had been obtained from a variety of sources, including the Heritage Lottery. The hall is the hub of village activities including the school of around 57 pupils which is located right alongside it so it was right that the children should be involved in the project.
The children would learn some textile skills along with geographical and historical knowledge of their school area.
We started in October 2015 and the grand opening of the hall by the Lord Lieutenant of Devon was on June 3rd 2016. The quilt and a scrapbook showing the stages of work were featured and the children presented their work to over 150 people in a poetry format.
Mapping skills were learned and an enlargement of an OS map of the villages was made.
The children traced two base maps on to stitch and tear from the enlarged OS map. One was cut up into field sections and one kept as a pattern template. After looking at Google Earth and much discussion field patterns were designed on A3 paper copies of the map.
Field coloured fabric was sorted and chosen, then basic designs were made using softy wax crayons. The children decided which patterns would be hand stitched and which machined. We set to work first with needle and embroidery thread for hand stitching.
The fields were then positioned on the large stitch and tear template and pinned on. The KS1 children (infants) all had a field too which they chose fabric for, cut out and placed like jigsaw puzzle pieces on the large template.
When all the fields were in place I secured them with invisible thread stitched onto a cotton backing to create the basic map.
Next the river and roads were positioned using brightly coloured sari ribbon. We made hedgerows out of sari ribbon and braid and again using invisible thread I stitched them all in place.
The children liked ‘ fooling’ the printer by sticking cotton fabric onto A4 sized sticky labels. We did two on a sheet and when printed the children were able to enhance or brighten any parts with fabric paints and pens.
A key and a title were designed on fabric using fabric pens. I then began many hours of stitching at home to put it all together. With Bondaweb and invisible thread the quilt was firmly made.
Thanks to Julia and Emily from Step by Step in South Molton and my sewing teacher and friend Jan Tillett for quilting tips!It was a challenge but a great joy to see it all come together for the children.
Finally the children wrote up their records of work and we mounted them alongside photographs and art work to make an A3 scrapbook which I covered.
On the grand Hall Opening day the children sang some songs and presented a rhyming couplet “rap” about the making of the quilt. Finally an eight year old recited a poem he had written entitled “The Dancing Quilt”. It was stunning!
The quilt will hang in the hall as a permanent fixture and the scrapbook will live in the school as a reminder of lots of fun and creativity.
Gallery of Activities
Click on a picture to enlarge and/or access a slideshow.