ARC is proud to be the first venue to exhibit The Peace Blanket; a collaborative work instilled with emotion, created by women from the local area. The Blanket will be on general display from Thursday 16th November in ARC’s gallery space with a special launch event taking place from 6pm on Wednesday 15th November.
The Peace Blanket is a collective project completed by women mostly from Stockton but also Middlesbrough and Richmond. It is a collection of 64 squares and each square was sewn, embroidered or appliqued by individual women to reflect images of what peace means to them. The squares were then joined together to produce a blanket.
The brainchild of artist Di Hewitt, the project was inclusive, open to any woman and free. Workshops were held in a variety of locations on Teesside, including a community centre, ARC, North Tees Hospital, Poppy Rose and in Richmond.
Amongst the women, there were those seeking sanctuary, women with mental health problems, carers, young women, and women having treatment for cancer. All materials were sourced from donations; often fabric which belonged to a relative who had passed away. Funds were raised via Stockton Soup to pay for talented local artist Kim McDermottroe to put the squares together
The aim was to develop a beautiful blanket which could be displayed to show the results of women working together; but most importantly the legacy of lasting friendships and a greater understanding of communities.
The inspiration for the Peace Blanket arose from the life of Jo Cox MP, her tragic death, and the rise in incidents of hate crime. Jo’s message and legacy was that people have ‘more in common than that which divides them’ and the group wanted to bring women together, from all walks of life, to build sustainable communities.
Each square was lovingly put together to remember happy times, reflect wishes for the future and share what makes the women feel at peace.
There are two legacies left by the Blanket. Firstly the women have made something beautiful for everyone to enjoy and secondly, the women have made lasting friendships.
The Peace Blanket is open to the public from Thursday, 16th November until Wednesday, 3rd January.