Wilton Park textile project launched

The Steyning So and Sews will be advanced style fashionistas in the Steyning Festival opening parade, which has a carnival theme. Pictures: Tom Duke
The Steyning So and Sews will be advanced style fashionistas in the Steyning Festival opening parade, which has a carnival theme. Pictures: Tom Duke

STEYNING stitchers are working on a textile project to mark the 70th anniversary of Wilton Park.

The Steyning So and Sews have not stopped threading their needles and creating textile magic since they completed their first major project, the magnificent Steyning Grammar School Heritage Quilts, which formed part of the school’s 400th anniversary celebrations in 2014.

The Wilton Park Textile Project is a work in progress, based on a design created by Steyning artist Elizabeth Harden

The Wilton Park Textile Project is a work in progress, based on a design created by Steyning artist Elizabeth Harden

The school has continued to support the community sewing group, run by volunteers, by providing premises for the monthly meetings.

Last year, the group was approached by Richard Burge, chief executive of Wilton Park, and asked to create a textile to commemorate the anniversary of Wilton Park.

Founded in 1946 to promote reconciliation in post-war Europe, Wilton Park has pursued its objective to address and resolve global challenges to security, prosperity and justice.

Recognised as a frontline asset for foreign policy discussion, Wilton Park became an executive agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1991 and continues to facilitate meetings and discussions with some of the world’s most influential experts, policy makers and opinion formers.

Since 1951, Wilton Park has been located at Wiston House, which provides a serene and tranquil backdrop for its vital work.

Mr Burge said: “I am delighted that Wilton Park can collaborate on a local level on this creative project that will commemorate this important milestone in our history.”

The Wilton Park Textile Project is led by a steering group, which honed its skills as a team on the Heritage Quilt project.

Amanda Duke, project manager, said: “The So and Sews were thrilled to be asked to tackle this project. We are very excited to be learning and experimenting with new textile techniques with which to represent the ethos of Wilton Park.”

Textile experimentation is being led by textile artist Jean Griffiths, with the design for the work having been created by Steyning artist Elizabeth Harden.

“It has been wonderful to see my design enlarged onto 3ft by 6ft templates,” said Elizabeth.

“The So and Sews have been brilliant, showing real enthusiasm and community spirit at our experimental textile workshops in fabric painting and creative embroidery techniques. We are all on a steep learning curve.”

The textile is shaping up and will be on view as a ‘work in progress’ during the Steyning Festival. The So and Sews will be at work in the Learning Resource Centre at Steyning Grammar School, Shooting Field, on Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4, from 1pm to 4pm.

The So and Sews will also be part of the Steyning Festival opening parade, which has a carnival theme, and have chosen to be ‘advanced style fashionistas’.

Any other groups interested in being part of the parade should contact Caroline Meeson by email, carolineouttogras@talktalk.com.

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