• Gordon MacLellan

Sewing hopes together

another textile project: sewing a new cope for a lost abbey

Two separate projects that share similar themes and similar threads have crossed our paths here at CelebrationEarth so we thought we would salute them both. Nationally, the Loving Earth project invites groups or individuals to consider their feelings about the natural world and sew these, draw these, paint these, embroider, bead, and improvise these into fabric while Two Left Hands have started an alternative well dressing in Buxton in Derbyshire which range from miniature sculptures on a window ledge to large collective patchwork banners.

Solomon's Temple, Buxton

For decades now, the Well Dressings of the Peak District have been one of the features of the summer. In Buxton, various wells would be Dressed, most especially St Anne’s Well at the foot of the Slopes. This summer will be different. “The Buxton Well Dressing Festival organising committee have decided to cancel this year’s festival that was due run between 5th to 12th July 2020. In the light of coronavirus, and the uncertainty this creates, we have decided to cease preparations to avoid unnecessary expenditure.” (from the Buxton Well Dressing site). Now the community celebration group Two Left Hands are creating an alternative, more domestic, more home-made version with Well Dressing flags for gardens and windows – or as fabric panels added to a collective spectacular banner (the theme here is “the Heart of Our Community”). This is taking off in a big way and a gallery of some of the contributions will follow. As another element of this season of “not dressing our wells”, another Buxton community group, Stone and Water, have published a smaller activity, a tucked away miniature dressing for window ledges, shelves and forgotten corners of homes

a window well-dressing

Neither Loving Earth nor the alternative well dressings started out as CelebrationEarth projects but they both hold the elements we hope people will embrace: taking time to feel, to reflect to be creative with those feelings and reflections so we heartily endorse these ideas and I hope they might inspire you – to join in or to create your own similar activities.

The Loving Earth Project

The Loving Earth Project aims to help people engage with the challenges of environmental breakdown without being overwhelmed, through a creative approach to learning and reflecting. It can help us to celebrate people, places, creatures and other things that we love and to us take action to care for them and to be good ancestors.

What/ Who/Which place do you love that is threatened by environmental breakdown

How might you yourself be contributing to that threat?

What more could you do to be part of the solution?

Loving Earth: pig in mud

The project invites us to consider these questions at a deeper level through a range of creative explorations, starting with a short guided meditation, available at https://lovingearth-project.uk/resources/ . It can be adapted to suit people of different ages, cultures and skill sets.

Meditation link: https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/lovingearth

Loving Earth

Individuals and community groups are also invited to make a textile square (30x30cm) in any style, in response to the three questions, to contribute to a community textile project brings. These can be sent in, along with a short accompanying text, to join a growing community exhibition. You can see it online at https://lovingearth-project.uk/gallery/ . We hope it will join the Celebration Earth event at St Alban’s in September and expect it to continue to travel for a few years.

The project is continuing to thrive during the COVID-19 lockdown. People can make panels or explore the questions using whatever materials are to hand, and a series of videos both to introduce the project and illustrate some textile materials and techniques that might be used, to get people started. Some groups are having online discussions and ‘stitch and chat” events - whether open to all (as advertised on the website) or for their own community. Our website and Facebook page have more details. Do join us.



mailing list : lovingearthproject@woodbrooke.org.uk

Loving Earth

Alternative well dressings: images for banners

Thanks: to the Loving Earth project for their project information

Photo credits, from the top

  • New cope: c G MacLellan ( a Stone and Water project)

  • Solomon's Temple: Two Left Hands

  • Pig in Mud and Two Loving Earth images: c. Loving Earth Project

  • Window well-dressing: c G MacLellan

  • Two Left Hands collage: Two Left Hands

With many thanks to these two projects and their teams and to all the people who have contributed to their work and to those whose images feature here

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