Quick, Quick, Slow: The Therapeutic Nature of Stitch

In our 125th year, join us to create a wall hanging which reflects your feelings, emotions and interests whether from nature, our collections or your own personal experience of life. It is a voyage of discovery for us all and we hope you will enjoy the slow, rhythmic and incremental nature of stitching which will enhance your wellbeing and contribute to an amazing work of art. NOTE: Due to the ongoing pandemic we are currently having to pause this project, as the studio is currently closed. Please do take this time to save up your ideas, so that when we are back in the studio we can send you squares of linen and you can help us make this project a wonderful collaboration. If you have your square already completed, please hold back sending them to us until after June.

The therapeutic nature of stitch

We live in a fast interconnected world

The world we live in…

Today we live in a fast, interconnected world. Getting balance in our lives and space to relax, learn and contemplate is crucial for our wellbeing.

Embroidery inspired by Oxburgh Marian Hangings in progress

A sense of wellbeing…

The Textile Conservation Studio has long recognised that needlework can relieve feelings of stress and anxiety - from seeing the positive impact on staff who conserve the National Trust’s textile collection to enlightening conversations with those who volunteer or visit.

Textiles can relieve feelings of stress and anxiety

A happier place…

Working with others with a shared interest is known to boost confidence and self-esteem and helps us feel more engaged with the world around us.

What are we doing?

Tucked away in Norfolk is the National Trust's Textile Conservation Studio; here a team of specialists undertake textile conservation work for places around the country, from large scale tapestries to small-scale dolls house furniture. As part of the National Trust's 125th anniversary celebrations in 2020, we are embarking on a new project and would like your help.

Working with award-winning textile artist, Sara Impey, we would like to create a piece of artwork from stitched contributions from our local community to encapsulate the hectic nature of life and the sense of calm that stitch can offer.

" ...stitch and memory, stitch and time and the ways textiles connect us to the past, both in our own lives and more generally."
- Sara Impey

For centuries stitched textiles have been used to illustrate contemporary events and they remain a powerful way to explore current themes. 

Who are we working with?

Sara Impey is a textile artist, specialising in quiltmaking, who uses her background in journalism and the language of the written word within her pieces.

Alongside our community wall hanging, we hope to work with Sara Impey to create a quilted piece that will include machine stitched lettering that reflects both the artist's and participants’ feelings and the value placed on textiles as witnesses to life in our properties, She would interpret the therapeutic nature of stitch through stitched text, combining thread and words.

"One of my recurring themes is the nature of stitch itself, looking at the therapeutic effects of sewing in this digital age..." Sara Impey
Textile artist Sara Impey will interpret the therapeutic nature of stitch through words
"One of my recurring themes is the nature of stitch itself, looking at the therapeutic effects of sewing in this digital age..." Sara Impey

How you can get involved

Take inspiration from a National Trust visit

Be inspired

Draw your response to the National Trust’s textile collection, taking inspiration from objects you have seen at the Studio or from a visit to one of the special places in our care. This can be any object, place, concept or lettering that inspires you.

Stitch onto the linen fabric provided

Get your fabric square

Pick up your fabric square from us. Your piece should measure 4" x 4", the fabrics are recycled from our “bits box” and are off-cuts from our tapestry support fabric. You can collect your fabric when you book a group visit to the Studio, attend one of our community events or you can e-mail us at textilestudio@nationaltrust.org.uk to get involved.

Attach a label with your name and send back to us

Quick, quick, sew

Then enjoy the therapeutic nature of sewing your picture onto the fabric provided (you don't have to be an expert). Then attach a label with your name and send it back to us at the Textile Conservation Studio. Our address is Malthouse Barn, Oulton Street, Norfolk, NR11 6AF.

Your contribution will join others in a trellis/lattice format. The format represents the warp and the weft on woven textiles and we have chosen a mottle dark blue as this echoes the outer edge borders on many tapestries.
Your piece will become part of our community wall hanging
Your contribution will join others in a trellis/lattice format. The format represents the warp and the weft on woven textiles and we have chosen a mottle dark blue as this echoes the outer edge borders on many tapestries.

The closing date for contributions is 30 November 2020. We'll then create a work of art from what you send us, which will go on display at National Trust several properties for visitors to admire. Follow our Instagram #NTTextileConservation where we will feature some of our favourites each month.