Red Thread Project

Sladebank Woods Open Day, the beginning of the the Red Thread installation project

Warm womb of a place
Red tapestries hung richly
in a forest green

Red Thread stitches

The Red Thread Project is a stitching together of many women and girls voices and stories who have spent time on the land at Sladebank Woods, Stroud.

Red Thread stitches help
stories of all kinds to warm
us through winter nights

It began for me as a practical task to insulate the roundhouse when I was donated a huge bale of many pieces of woolen felt. The idea was daunting to tackle alone.

Patricia Brien and daughter
stitching in the woods

When Patricia Brien (see her website Liminessence for latest projects) approached me in the summer of 2017 to work on a project with the Red Hearth community for her PhD focusing on Stroud ‘scarlet’ textiles, I suggested the woollen panels and the Red Thread Project was conceived. It started on the Sladebank Woods Open Day in October.

From the sheep came fleece
Factory felted scarlet
Warming the house round

Embroidered panels

Woven to the land
Red Threads trail through the tall trees
Weaving in and out

Red Thread stitches

Practical, tactile
Red Threads connected village
touching dear hearts deep

We estimate that 40 women and girls have participated, in total 5 beautiful and lush hangings have been created. The panels have been mainly stitched together at Atelier Stroud on Monday evenings during the winter months by Patricia and myself.

Kesty stitching panels together

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed.

Leonie stitching her story

The Red Hearth well wrapped
round in red threads gathered in
Sister’s stories heard.

Women with their wool & red thread story panels

Spinning together
yarns, their fingers threaded red
wild stories are told

I am grateful too for the reflective process of sewing, sparking my imagination over the winter months.  It has coincided with a sense of completion, of the end of a phase in the life of the Red Hearth House for me. My imagination so sparked that I wrote 14 Haikus about the Red Hearth and Red Thread.  I now begin a new phase in my own personal journey.

Felt on felt, a pelt
Wool wrapped around with foot prints
Wild red running through

Red Thread Stitching

By a hot hearth fire
the Red Threads were woven through
O women’s wise blood.

The stitching begins in the Red Hearth House

Like cave paintings red
ochre face painted warrior
women create art
Red Hearth House, at Sladebank Woods, Stroud, Retreat in woodland, home to women and girls circles

Red Hearth House set in woodland , Stroud

Their precious dwelling
Cocooned in wool hung there rich
as any tapestry

The beginning of the Red Thread Project

The hearts embroidered
industriously they weaved
their piece to the whole

First panel completed

The panels were part of a Woman’s Day Celebration and exhibition at Lansdown Hall in Stroud in March 2018.

Lansdown Red Thread
Red embellishments
the women dressed with beauty
their sacred temple

Women’s Circle

The Moon waxed and waned.
Winter days spent sewing red
til brighter days shone

Wool Panels hung in Roundhouse

(5 March 2018)