Blanket Stitch

Blanket Stitch
24 July to 2 August
Studio Corridor Gallery

Arts for Health artist Bénédicte Coleman has brought together a collection of freehand embroidery works inspired by the idea of ‘home’ for this exhibition at Uillinn. Preloved blankets form the base of the works by participants on the Arts for Health Partnership Programme in Bantry Day Care Centre, and Castletownbere and Dunmanway Community Hospitals.

Bénédicte Coleman developed the project to include people from a broad spectrum of physical and cognitive capacities in a colourful and exciting textiles adventure.

She says ‘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 idea stemmed from conversations that took place during the 2021 Arts for Health Ways & Means postal project, when old Foxford blankets– those blankets with the pink, blue or green stripes that were a feature in most Irish homes - came up as strong memory trigger. The subject of darning and mending came up a lot too, and so 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. A lovely aspect of the project is that men have been stitching too, a process from which they were largely excluded in the past.’

Arts for Health Partnership Programme is based in West Cork and provides a managed arts programme for older people accessing healthcare services, since 2002. The programme takes place in widespread, rural locations including Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, five Day Care Centres: Bantry, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Dunmanway, Skibbereen; four Community Hospitals: Castletownbere, Dunmanway, Schull, Skibbereen, Bantry General Hospital, Care of the Elderly Unit,  in community settings and more recently, at home. Managed by Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, Arts for Health runs all year round and is delivered by a team of professional artists from different disciplines.

Access to and engagement with the arts in healthcare settings improves the quality of life for individuals in residential care and encourages conversation with the wider community. By being integrated into the culture of the care setting, the Arts for Health programme allows the ideas and individual creative interests of the participants to be nurtured, developed and implemented over time.

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