Here and Now: Stitching Together

A national and local celebration of culture within communities. 40 projects taking place in and around 40 arts centres across the country, led by artists and co-created with local people.

A large studio in farnham maltings with multi media murals hanging from the beams

Farnham Maltings worked with renowned British textile artist Alice Kettle throughout the pandemic on a community project that celebrates the organisation’s contribution to the shape and character of the town. The resulting artwork – revealed for the first time in our Great Hall at 2020's Festival of Crafts – places an emphasis on the ‘everydayness of craft’ and provided an opportunity to work with people and communities within the Farnham Maltings network and wider reach of the town.

Originally conceived to encourage the participation of many groups within the Farnham community, the Stitching Together project shifted focus to help combat loneliness and uncertainty due to the first country-wide lockdown.

Artwork from local school children

Working with Farnham schools, images were collected from children that were either drawn or painted. Primary school children were given a brief to use local flora and fauna, as well as the local landscape around Farnham as inspiration while secondary students could draw symbols and images of contemporary life such as graffiti, signs, people or anything else.

The children’s images were then shared in stitch packs throughout the community. Each stitch pack contained a square of fabric and threads and participants were asked to translate the drawings into stitch using their own creativity.

The project is supported by Arts Council England and Future Arts Centres, marking The National Lottery’s 25th birthday.

Alice Kettle

Alice Kettle is a contemporary textile/fibre artist based in the UK. She has established a unique area of practice by her use of a craft medium, consistently and on an unparalleled scale. The scale of her work belies their component parts: individual tiny stitches, which combine to form great swathes of colour, painterly backgrounds incorporating rich hues and metallic sheen.

She trained as a painter, and has work represented in many international collections.

Alice Kettle sat in her studio with her sewing machine.

5 Stars

“Craft has the power to bring people together, to heal, and can also provide respite and mental health benefits – especially in tough times like we’ve dealt with this year. With our premises closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic we believed there was an even greater need to maintain our links within the community as people self-isolated while the country was on lockdown. We maintain that having a common project and goal to work towards as something to look forward to helped to combat the loneliness and uncertainty that our audiences were feeling without their regular connection to the building.”

Gavin Stride, Director of Farnham Maltings.