The Community Quilt Programme


Significant Seams has led six community quilt projects. Twice, these have explored a theme over three years, examining a question from a range of perspectives involving individuals in the creation of richly symbolic patchwork.

The first series, between 2011 and 2013, explored the concept of Neighbourliness – and got neighbours talking, then collaborating (and sometimes sewing for the first time), and learning together about local history. The second series explored the Changing Roles of Women. The quilts in this series have been exhibited locally, and nationally.

  • The First Series: Neighbourliness
  • The Second Series: The Changing Roles of Women

Community quilts1Our first community quilt, the E17 Neighbourhood Quilt, exhibited extensively to the local rea it pertains to – in Walthamstow, East London – and with each exhititon continues to spark conversations about community, history, and the characteristics of locality. This quilt is a map of the E17 postcode made of tiny patchwork pieces and glittery fabric paint fingerprints made by residents who’ve marked the location of their home. Notecards and cushion covers are available for sale to support our work.

neighbourly quiltThe success of the Neighbourhood Quilt led to the making of a community quilt for the 2012 Art Trail, the Neighbourly Quilt. Participants in this project were asked to create a patch – using any textile treatment- but answering the question 1) What does it mean to be a good neighbour? or depicting 2) something they love about their neighbourhood. The resulting 68 patches created by Walthamstow residents (and pieced together by Significant Seams volunteers) display a dazzling variety of inspiration, themes, and creative talent.

Textile techniques include embroidery, applique, patchwork, and even knitting and woodcut prints.

The following year we worked intensively with a small group, The Young Custodians’ to explore a specific definition of “Neighbourliness” – the one captured in the “Socialist Ten Commandments.” These are carved into a wood hanging now housed at Vestry House Museum, but originally were in William Morris Hall, the building that is now The Limes Community Centre. The Young Custodians are all young adults with learning, and sometimes physical disabilities, and are coming of age after long association with the family support services of The Limes. This project explored the heritage of their building, the Socialist Ten Commandments, and how they are now the custodians of this “Neighbourliness.”

Significant Seams helped explore the questions and teach the sewing skills they needed to represent what their ideas. The Young Custodians Quilt hangs on permanent exhibition at The Limes on Somers Road in Walthamstow. Notebooks and notecards depicting it are available for sale – and proceeds are split between the two organisations.

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