‘Sew’, this is what you thought about Covid!

19 July 2022

Agnes Evans and her husband Niall

A COVID-19 commemorative wall-hanging, created by a group of Powys and Shropshire crafters, is currently on display in Welshpool and will then move on to Newtown.

It can be viewed at Y Lanfa Powysland Museum and Welshpool Library until Friday 29 July, and then at Newtown Library, throughout August.

It features the reflections of seven friends, with a shared love of craft, over 15 30cm by 30cm panels and documents their experiences of the pandemic – both good and bad – during a period of isolation.

Agnès Evans from Welshpool, who came up with the idea, said she was inspired by a book – ‘Threads of Life’ – written by Clare Hunter, at a point when she was worried about her son, who she felt had become ‘trapped’ in his care home.

She added: “The author underlines the need we all have to tell our story. She explains how men and women over the centuries and across the continents have used sewing and embroidery: to record events which have often been traumatic, to make their voices heard and to start a healing process after very difficult circumstances.

“Clare Hunter talks for example about Mary Queen of Scots and her time of imprisonment, when she used sewing and embroidery as a way to communicate with the outside world. She mentions the Bayeux Tapestry, which tells the story of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and has become a piece of political propaganda. She records the story of the First World War soldiers who used sewing to help them deal with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

“This wall-hanging has come about with a similar aim: to record what our nation and the nations of the world have gone through. Our aim has been to capture part of our history and to keep a record of it so that we will not forget how our world changed.”

The wall-hanging features a range of techniques, including crochet, embroidery, cross-stitch, weaving and collage, and can be viewed in the entrance to Y Lanfa, which is open:

  • Monday 9.30am – 6.30pm
  • Tuesday 9.30am – 5pm
  • Wednesday 9.30am – 1pm
  • Friday 9.30am – 5pm
  • Saturday 9.30am – 1pm

Cllr David Selby, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for a More Prosperous Powys, said: “Through the use of a simple needle and thread this group of friends have constructed an eye-catching piece of art which will help to preserve a collection of shared experiences and memories, from a unique period in our history. Come and see this wonderful textile and enjoy its beauty!

“I would also urge Powys residents and visitors to come and see what Y Lanfa, and all our other wonderful libraries and museums across the county have to offer. Take your children during the school holidays and sign up for the reading challenge and keep an eye out for events that are running throughout the summer.”

For help or further information on any Powys Libraries services, email library@powys.gov.uk or call the Library Line on 01874 612394.

PICTURE: Agnès Evans and her husband Niall, who wrote some of the text and coordinated the admin side of the project, with the COVID-19 wall-hanging at Y Lanfa in Welshpool.