The Quaker Tapestry is a modern day masterpiece of story-telling in stitches.
It’s also one of the largest and most significant, imaginative and collaborative community textile projects in the world. Its 77 panels made by 4,000 people from 15 countries celebrate life, people, such as famous Quakers Elizabeth Fry and Mary Fisher and important events across the centuries.
It began in 1981. It was Jonathan’s fault. He was 11 years old when he asked his Sunday school teacher if he could make a tapestry instead of colouring in! Soon the children were having far too much fun so the adults joined in. During the production over 4,000 men, women and children in 15 countries took part and in 1996 it was finished. A home was found for it in Kendal, an attractive market town in Cumbria, on the edge of the Lake District.
The Quaker Tapestry stories show the industrial revolution, developments in science and medicine, astronomy, the abolition of slavery, social reform, and ecology, not to mention the famous three-wheels-on-my-waggon story of the banker Jonathan Backhouse.
A versatile new stitch, the Quaker Stitch was created, to add a three-dimensional look to the lettering. 2It looks impressive but it’s easy,2 says Bridget Guest, manager of The Quaker Tapestry in Kendal and one of the embroidery teachers. 2The techniques and embroidery stitches were designed specifically to enable everyone who wanted to join in with the creativity, to do so!2 Contributions came from around the world making it one of the biggest community projects ever. OK – the Great Wall of China tops it. And the pyramids. But they were made to do it. Definitely No Porridge! By the way, Quakers are nothing to do with Quaker Oats, so there are no tales of porridge but plenty about chocolate … Discover how jury rights were established, who built the iron bridge, listen to the audio guides, watch the films, and explore the interactive display.
The Quaker Tapestry
This article is brought to you by The Quaker Tapestry You can see it in its main home in Kendal. The Museum is open between February and December.
Read more about Kendal here.