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The Belfast Quilt

On a pouring-wet Saturday morning in November 2019 thirty enthusiastic volunteer stitchers met at the Ulster Museum in Belfast for a community sewing event called ‘Stitches and Stories’, as part of the Being Human festival. The task was to hand-stitch a linen patchwork quilt based on a map of Belfast. The inspiration for this event was a map that had been developed as part of an Open University research project into community segregation in North Belfast. When Heather first saw this map she was fascinated by the story it told, but was also struck by it’s visual impact, and how it would make a beautiful quilt. And so the 'Stitches and Stories' event was born.

As well as the practical business of stitching the quilt, Heather also wanted to use the event to build connections among the participants through storytelling and the sharing of memories. Many makers have experienced the conversations that arise when groups of people come together to sew, knit or engage in other textile crafts. Heather's aim for ‘Stitches and Stories’ was to draw in anyone who had an interest in textiles and craft and was open to exploring the power of storytelling and conversation as a way of building community connection.


After the hiatus of the pandemic lockdowns, The Belfast Quilt was finally put on public display as part of the 'Common Threads' exhibition at the Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, during the 2023 Linen Biennale.












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