Gathering the core team (May-July 2019)

Artists, historians, textile specialists, organisers...

Artists, historians, textile specialists and organisers – all key to the success of the project…but where to find them?

We started to seek support via social media, church groups, parish councils, women’s institute, knitting groups, RRAVS and U3A groups. One of our early visits was to Ashingdon U3A at the St. Andrew’s Ashingdon church hall. There was general interest from everyone and great interest from one of the organisers, Sarah Johnson. Sarah and Chris quickly became the ‘textile leads’…a major role sorted.

Corina and Carol had highlighted the need for more historical background before drawing commenced. Fortunately Twitter connected us to Ian Yearsley who has become a fantastic source of information and, together with Roger Hill, has authored most of the historical text. Ian, Roger and Geoff set about finalising the timeline and content for the tapestry panels.

We started to get interest from some other artists. Daniel Roche was the first to complete a drawing, with an amazing initial panel. The drawings have been completed by Daniel, Sally Chinea, Carol Apps, Olivia Carus, Ian Yearsley and Olly Tait. Graham Larwood also produced some historically-researched sketches that the other artists incorporated into the panels. It has been fascinating to see the timeline words take shape as drawings and being interpreted in different drawing styles.

But of course we needed people to create the tapestry. The call went out across the district for people at all skill levels to come along and find out about the community project at a launch event on 20th July 2019. Over 30 people turned up to that first meeting and the project team grew from there.

20th July 2019: Launch event at Ashingdon Elim after the Heritage Lottery Fund award
Left to right: Roger Hill, Daniel Roche, Ian Yearsley, Geoff Durham, Sarah Johnson

Launch event: explaining the project background, local history and the task ahead!