What We Value, What We Miss

Project 2023 Unspoken, Truth and Silence

The connection we have to landscape and place is at the heart of my work. It is the transient nature of things observed combined with the urge to engage with things experienced as part of the overlooked details of everyday life that matter. But at the same time, the stories I find about people and place form the basis of who I am, my process, and my particular view of the world. In 2020 I initiated a project called What We Value, What We Miss. which continues as an informal exchange today (further details in this post).

Liesbeth Werts (left) Cas Holmes (right)

The premise of the group is to exchange and share ideas about our mutual love for stitch. We are currently looking at themes relating to the words Unspoken: Truth and Silence
The things we may not talk about. The things we care about. Our group project for 2023 initiated by artist Liesbeth Werts and myself is Unidentified Meaningful Object..

Liesbeth broadly explains the creation of the Unidentified Meaningful Object in this little video

Take an object, a stone, a seed, shell or anything you desire which has personal significance

Take a piece of paper and write about your thoughts and feelings. in media of your choice.

Knead the paper by crumpling and stretching it out repeatedly to soften it and wrap the object. Bind with red thread.

Continue to layer the object and bind or stitch the layers as you go.
How you add layers is your choice. Each part or layer may have a specific meaning; the layer itself, as well as the adding of it. For example; the kneading of the paper (referred to as Momigami in Japan) in the first layer takes time and may be considered more thoughtful in approach, the process akin to mulling things over.
The wool/ cloth layers, may represent softening, or kindness (for instance, to yourself).
The thread and stitching, binds it all together. The words and layers inside will be hidden as part of the process and may be lost in memory, even to the maker. 

A contemplative approach to the making of your object. The ‘unseen’ or invisible layers of cloth, paper and stitch, adding layers of ‘hidden’ meaning to the outside appearance.

(Please note, this is a closed group but we welcome followers of this page to create their own responses as individuals and in groups)

Project 2020 -2022 ‘What We Value-What We Miss

The question ‘What We Value-What We Miss’, formed the basis of my research and exhibition Places, Spaces, Traces for Gypsy Maker in terms of the relationship we have to ‘identity’ and ‘place’. What would you value enough to bring with you if forced to leave your home, and what you would miss if you had to leave it behind? .

This new work was exhibited throughout the Summer at the Sint-Anna-ten-Drieën Antwerp in 2022 through the organisation vzw ANNA3. A selection of the pieces called The Shipping Forecast was installed in the amazing creative space of a converted lightvessel LV21, in Gravesend in the UK as well as at R Space in Lisburn, Northern Ireland It continues to tour the four countries of the UK through to 2023/4. Further details under exhibitions.

These are examples of some of themes included.

A treasured flowering plant, one young man I spoke to recently talked of missing his grandmother’s garden and roses in Iran.

The everyday household things cups, saucers and tea things that connect you to family.

Enjoying the birds in a park or the simple act of walking in a sunshine.

Daily cycle or walk in a park./woodland

Connection to family and friends

You are also welcome to use this theme to create your own stitched sampler with words and images about the things you everyday things you value more or miss

Below are examples of some of individual and community pieces exhibited. The words and images are stitched as if quickly handwritten. Many of these individual pieces have been kindly donated to the project

The materials used in the images are mostly cotton or linen in a neutral or limited colour palette, except for the existing embroidery on the cloth. Everyday household items handkerchiefs and small napkins/pieces of clothing would be ideal.

bHobien art group works in the alcoves.

Crossroads Group

Postal contributions above and below

Community Response in the Corridor

A story cloth of our time

The piece from 52 Stitched Stories in response to the shipping forecast, focused on the real stories from the voices of the migrants themselves to which we must bear witness. The home of 52 Stitched Stories is the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland. Living on a small island means we are often cut off from the mainland due to poor weather. Our connection with the sea provides a small lens through which to try and contemplate what it must be like to get into a small overcrowded boat and try and cross one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. We wanted our piece to record and speak the stories that are often ignored or even lost forever

Fiona Doubleday 52 Stitched Stories

Below: Installation work in progress ‘The Shipping Forecast’ this contains words stitched onto fragments as I travelled and worked over 2018-22 along the themes of migration and movement of people. The words are readable from the reverse side.

Feel free to share your stitched pieces on social media with hashtags #whatwemiss #whatwevalue #everydaythings

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