Sunday, 18 October 2009


Sometimes I have a good clear out of my surplus cloth trunk - mostly remnants of hand-woven coarse linen and hemp which are left over from cushion making, which in turn are usually made from left overs from curtains. They are a bit heavy for normal quilts and collage work but I have for a long time sent them off to Fine Cell Work in London, where they are eagerly awaited and put to very good use. It is easy to embroider directly on the evenly spaced threads without need for canvas and patterns. F.C.W. was founded several years ago by a distinguished prison visitor Lady Anne Tree, who desperately wanted to find something for the lifers (long -time prisoners) to do and to be able to earn some money for comforts and save for their eventual release. She hit on the brilliant idea of encouraging them to do canvaswork cushions to designs donated by several of her top designer friends, and the Royal School of Needlework found needlewomen who were willing to go into the prisons and teach the inmates how to work - one of the really practical and helpful ideas was that the prisoners could continue with their work in their cells so they were occupied and trained and felt there was more purpose to their life 'inside' The movement has been a huge success and many prisons are now waiting for the scheme to be introduced - more than 20 are already involved and report that it has had a remarkable and good effect on the lifers, who previously thought they were forgotten and were deeply depressed. Fine Cell Work welcomes the chance to show the very fine work they produce at large country houses where the cushions and quilts can be seen and where the hostess has a good invitation list to bring the buyers in. They will undertake personal commisioned work, and the standard of work is truly
excellent. FINE CELL WORK 0207 931 9998, 38 BUCKINGHAM PALACE RD. SW1 0RL

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