The project began with the creation of a set of photographs taken in and around Melton Mowbray and the three Sure Start Centres, The Edge, Fairmead and The Cove to act as inspiration for the imagery in the hangings. Further consultation with staff and participants lead to the creation of a master drawing to inspire felted pieces. The central themes were the kind of help and support offered to young families by the Sure Start Centres, the 2012 Olympics, The Torch Relay and the Queen’s Jubilee.
As each centre has different types of space, I decided to create a set of hangings, which took the issue of space into account. The hangings have been designed in such a way that they can fit almost any available space in an easily changed combination. The design has been inspired by, and takes the format of, the baby blanket, an everyday item and a potent symbol of comfort, warmth and love. Each set has a large central panel – the style is loose and reminiscent of a pastel sketch or a child’s drawing.
Participants have learnt how to create images using a wet felting technique which is very old and very connected to home and family – Mongolian yurts have been made for centuries in this way, creating portable homes that are warm, sturdy and weather proof. Wool and felt have played a huge part in Britain’s history and it has been good to take a traditional technique and give it a contemporary use.
Many thanks to Louise Callaghan, Jess Laws, Shantel Gibbons who created many of the pieces and helped to make this project a success!
Imagery on the Central Panels:-
The Edge – Mother and child walking with baby in pushchair
Fairmead – Two toddlers playing outdoors – bunting in the background
The Cove – Mother and baby reading in the garden – trees and bunting in the background
Key to smaller blankets
Union Jack for Team GB and the Jubilee
Olympic Torch to commemorate the Torch Relay coming through Melton
Crowns – the Jubilee
Cake with candle & number 60 - the Jubilee
Swimmer – 2012 Olympics
Gold medal - 2012 Olympics
ABC – support & encouragement of reading at Sure Start Centres
123 - support & encouragement of numeracy at Sure Start Centres
Hearts – caring, family, community
Flowers – nature, countryside, fresh air, breathing spaces
Play – celebrating Stay & Play sessions at Sure Start Centres and highlighting the importance of play in a child’s development
Hand and Heart – family, support, community, love, care, working together
Fruit – Healthy eating
There are also two sets of bunting created for The Edge, which can be used in any celebratory context.
Project work hand over with Clive Breedon and Kate Parkinson representing Melton Borough Council and the Sure Start Centres