Artist – Bénédicte Coleman
Dunmanway Community Hospital, Castletownbere Community Hospital, Bantry Day Care Centre
Blanket Stitch aimed to subvert the idea of sewing, darning and embroidery as necessary household chores, or a way to gain much needed extra income, into a colourful act of unrestricted imagination.
‘The project has been a huge creative leap for some participants as they are not presented with a pattern or template – inspiration for the work comes from their own imaginations….the Blanket Stitch project emerged, with a view to turning what was once a habitual chore for Irish women into a joyful celebration of creativity.’
Inspired by conversations that came up during the Arts for Health 2021 Ways and Means postal project, Bénédicte planned to use old Foxford blankets as the base of this project, both physically as a canvas, and metaphorically as a launching pad for memory sharing. Almost all materials used were repurposed: old blankets, sacking cloth, curtains, and left-over wool from previous work.
During Bealtaine Festival 2023, Bénédicte organised exhibitions of the work at Dunmanway, Castletownbere, and Bantry libraries. It was shown again at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre as part of Skibbereen Arts Festival in July.
Blanket Stitch began in 2022 and continued throughout 2023.
‘The project was an enormous success. It brought people together at all levels. The music and art are great levelers. There’s great learning and camaraderie in it. It really brought people together and started beautiful conversations. Enjoyed by all; residents, family, and staff.’
Kerry Burchill, Director of Nursing, Dunmanway Community Hospital, 2023.
Credit: Images by Bénédicte Coleman
This project was supported by Arts for Health Partnership Programme, Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre.