Welcome to our new favourite collaborative project on Mr X Stitch. Stitching Out Stigma is a new initiative whose aims are:
- Raise awareness of mental health issues
- Fight stigma which sadly often accompanies mental health issues
- Connect like minded people
- Give hope to people affected by mental health issues
- Enable people to experience the many benefits that engaging with their ‘inner creativity’ can assist with.
“The idea was inspired by Earl Lavina’s 21st century cross stitch, Bayeux Tapestry and a feature on a star wars cross stitch found in a cross stitch magazine. The project involves creating a GIANT cross stitch display (or possibly several smaller ones, at least to start!), created by YOU guys (and us!) It entails doing 1 square of cross stitch which represents your ideas/experiences/journeys/thoughts of mental health issues which you are experiencing/have experienced or are passionate about.
Natalie thought up the idea while receiving treatment in a mental health hospital, due to her own experiences of, and with, mental health issues and wanted to pilot the project due to her passion for raising awareness and volunteering to ‘make a difference’ whenever possible. We encourage people to feel free to contact us with any contributions and ideas which come to mind of how we can develop the project!
“We are asking YOU to create a 10×10 inch Aida square for the project, using whatever ideas, inspiration, colours and medium (i/e pictures or words) you feel helps portray your experience of mental health.
There are no ‘rules’ – each square is individual to its creator after all! Just enjoy the process and share any inspirations, ideas or resources you feel able to.
“We have a Facebook group and would love it if people would either create a blog about their part in the project or submit a small written piece to accompany their square. It would be nice to be able to present a book or blog at the end showing how it all developed! Of course, you do not need to disclose anything, but are more than welcome to ‘share your story’ alongside your stitching if you wish!
“All we ask is that you be mindful of not intentionally triggering or offending others (i.e. using ‘pro anorexia’ messages) and that you make the square personal to you. You can submit your square to Sian Lile-Pastore, St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff CF5 6XB.
“Eventually all the 10 inch squares will be sewn together to create a giant one and, if we can get a charity or organization to agree to it, used as a display at a mental health awareness event. One idea we had was to construct various ‘hub points’ throughout the UK in order to enable participating stitchers to meet, stitch together (as a team I mean!) and also stitch together (as regards to the completed squares for people in that locality).
If this were successful it might actually help connect like minded people, provide a source of inspiration/ hope/ encouragement/ friendship and enable multiple ‘mini projects’ to be constructed for this cause. Then perhaps these could join at some stage to form a larger project, but equally, perhaps, small displays around the UK would be a better way to raise awareness in all areas!
“If you know of any groups, or if you are happy to be a ‘point of contact’ for the project locally, or even start a group up, please do get in touch with us!
“The squares will then be joined together to form displays for the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Week in May 2015, and will then be housed in the new mental health unit in Wales in 2016. Don’t worry if you can’t make the May deadline, pieces are being accepted until December 2015.”
At Mr X Stitch we’re firm believers in the healing power of stitch, and the testimonials from Fine Cell Work are among the many examples of how the repetition and creation involved in needlework can actively promote positive mental attitudes. While they’re not necessarily going to be a cure for mental health issues, there’s a growing body of evidence that highlights the therapeutic benefits of handcrafts. This page from the UK Hand Knitting Association is filled with links to interesting topics.