Quilt D was made by a group from the parish church of St Mary and St Michael’s, Trumpington
In 2016 the church was asked to join with other community groups to create a panel as part of a giant mural for the new Community Centre being built at Clay Farm, Trumpington. Our parish will double in size by the time all the building work is complete. Frances Harris led the project for the church and she writes here about how it developed:
The panel aims to represent a vibrant church community: worshipping together and welcoming others. Both the design and the working of the panel were collaborative, not the work of one person but several. The first ideas for the design came from associating words and images.
What does ‘church’ mean to us? How shall we represent it? It is more than the building. Church includes:
- An open door, a place of hope and welcome; acceptance and belonging.
- Bread and wine shared, the wonder of God feeding us and nourishing us.
- Worship together – all ages and types, everyone joining in: Dance, song, colour, variety of shapes, young and old, able and infirm.
- The festivals of the church year, marked by Advent, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost.
The cycle of the church year can be represented in the liturgical church colours too: green, red, white, gold, purple.
Another design stage was taking photos of the church, to see the strong lines in the church building. The most striking image for me was the doorway, with the arched stonework and its open door, which speaks of continual welcome through the centuries. (The church in Trumpington has been standing here since the thirteenth century.) I saw that a large church candle just inside our doorway carries the Greek letters ‘alpha ‘ and ‘omega’. That stands for ‘beginning ‘ and ‘end’, as these are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus is described in the Bible as the alpha and omega, the reason for our creation and the source of all our days. So I chose to include these letters in the design too, at either side.
Then I took these images to others, in particular to the design consultant Clare Collier. She perceived how to join these images together, suggesting a round centre panel for the doorway and corners for the church seasons. Her pen and paper sketch then turned into my paper cut outs. And then by some wonderful computer magic (Sheila Betts and her computer design skills) we had printed templates to work from.
By this stage six church members had agreed to contribute to the sewing. Each person had different skills and experience in sewing. This is important to me; it mirrors exactly that everyone in church has different abilities. We are all part of the whole community. Without one person’s contribution the project would not have been the same; and without all our church members we would not be who we are as a congregation, fully expressing Christ to our locality.
Everyone took on their part of the design and developed the concept with their preferred materials. Scraps of fabric were purchased, swopped and scavenged until we had the colours and textures we wanted. We discovered both retail shops and swop shops that we hadn’t known about before. Carol at the Trumpington Stitchers group gave us a workshop lesson on techniques for free machine stitching and fabric painting (thank you Carol; new skills and resources was a wonderful by-product of the project.)
Periodically we got together to take advice from each other on how to develop our section. This was encouraging to see how the parts when placed together would build into the whole piece. Another image for me: how does my part relate to the whole? I don’t see that in full yet but with faith I carry on, trusting God that my life has meaning in a greater scheme, that my life has impact in ways that I don’t see.
The floral displays in church are a joy to many people. So we represented a flower arrangement by printing a photo onto cotton, so we could integrate it into the design. This was one of the last pieces to be sewn into place.
Then finally the rays of light were embroidered over the whole, to indicate how the light of the Christmas star and the Easter sun continue to bring hope into our lives. Please enjoy the panel and let it speak to you of welcome, acceptance and hope in Christ.
The contributors were:
Sheila Betts: central panel archway, dancing figures, the flowers, the musical notes, and construction of pieces together
Sian Jones: the embroidered stained glass window and its stonework; the kid leather alpha, omega and chalice pieces
Frances Harris: the Pentecost and Advent corners; the bread and wine [wheat and grapes]; the coloured circle
Sarah Proudfoot: the Easter corner
Julie Newby: the Christmas corner
Catherine Rowland: Lettering
With thanks to our advisors from the Trumpington Stitchers: Clare Collier and Carol Holloway
Photo: (clockwise from bottom left) Frances, Sheila, Catherine, Sian, Sarah, Julie