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Continued success of "Poetry in Stitches" | 17-May-07

Poems in the Waiting Room (PitWR) and the National Needlework Archive (NNA), which documents, curates and promotes textiles in the community. launched a joint project - Poetry in Stitches in 2005, a combination of literary and visual arts. The NNA Each year a theme is adopted; the theme for the year was Poems in the Waiting Room. The task set for stitchers was to produce textile art pieces inspired by poems, principally those published by PitWR. The embroidery pieces were prepared to be displayed alongside the poem, as public artworks together in a single frame, designed for exhibition at national shows and then offered to health service and other waiting rooms. The project combined two distinct cultural media and present them in a format that will allow a new perception of each.

The joint venture proved exceptionally successful. Over one hundred textile art pieces were submitted mostly illustrating poems in PitWR. The art pieces and their poems were exhibited from autumn 2005 at specialist textile shows throughout Britain until the end of last year.

The main public exhibition was held in January 2006 in Menier Gallery The Menier Chocolate Factory 51 Southwark Street London SE1 1RU. The public exhibition attracted some 600 visitors to view the art pieces and their poems. The gallery space was made available by courtesy of the national charity Paintings in Hospitals. A reception for PitWR poets and guests was held when over sixty guests attended.

After completing the national tour of specialist textile shows, the Poetry in Stitches collection is now on offer for display in patient areas of NHS hospitals. The offer completes the cycle of the joint project to produce an exceptional form of arts in health combining the visual and the literary arts.

The first show of selected exhibits and poems has been mounted in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. The exhibition is organised by Jessica Kent

 Arts Manager Cancer Centre Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Edgbaston Birmingham B15 2TH Phone 07876 564280 "We are very excited about having the show and are engaging a textile artist to work with patients and staff to coincide with the show".

A second selection from the Poetry in Stitches collection has also being mounted to mark the opening of a new day surgery patients waiting area in Kingston Hospital: the project is managed by Allan Morley Head of Estates Kingston Hospital NHS Trust Galsworthy Rd. Kingston-upon-Thames KT2 7QB Phone 020

The invitation to stage an exhibition from the Poetry in Stitches collection is open to other NHS hospitals and clinical institutes throughout Britain.

The NNA and PitWR have decided to repeat the Poetry in Stitches programme for 2007 to meet the heavy demand from textile artists interested in the poetry project. The programme envisages a national exhibition in a London Art Gallery in spring 2008 with further exhibitions in hospitals thereafter.

For further information about the Poetry in Stitches contact Michael Lee PitWR Editor or Linda Connell NAA Convenor

Further information from Victoria Fry, who already reports favourable comment from patients from the first day.

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