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Stitched Time finished on 23 November with a delicious celebratory meal for those involved – the warm soup and noodles were very welcome at the end of a very miserable wet day.

Stitched Time refers to both the project and the process, which took place in Dover and the exhibition at Limbo, Margate. I was nearly absent from the opening, having found myself in A&E on the first day of the hang and having to organise the rest of the hang from my hospital bed!

Stitched Time explored the act of stitching as both personal and collective metaphor. “Stitching is something one can do alone, with one’s own thoughts, and an activity that just as easily lends itself to doing in the company of others. The needle is a tool used both to both pierce and repair a surface and the repetitive, time-intensive nature of stitching is redolent of domestic labour. I often use red thread because of the association of red, as the colour of blood, with both life and death.”

Eight of us – all women – all wearing white overalls came together to stitch over 10 Chinese rice paper scrolls in a former tent and tarpaulin factory in Dover. The making process suggestive of an assembly line-cum-sewing circle encompassed conversation, laughter and moments of silence, as well as the practised movements of hands at work.

The project is written up in more detail elsewhere (on my website) so I won’t repeat it here, but will just list some of the key words that characterise the experience:

  • non patriarchal
  • fun
  • conversations
  • new friends
  • work, labour
  • meditative
  • repetition
  • performance, performative
  • simplicity and monumentality
  • exciting
  • beautiful
  • collaboration
  • participatory
  • authorship
  • making
  • inclusive
  • feminism
  • feminine
  • craft associations
  • Non-competitive

Ruth Geldard has written a review.

The project was supported by Arts Council England.