‘Craft is empowering, it reveals processes and other elements of making. Craft allows us to be involved with every part of production, so there is a sense of personal power in making the crafted objects, but more than that, craft is empowering within communities,’ she says.
The Collaborative Stitching Project included 273 women and two men from across New Zealand contributing their cross stitched piece to Mrs Well’s artwork vision. She was assisted from Thread sewing magazine in her call out to volunteers, some as far afield as Christchurch, and posted out sewing kits to those who were interested.
Although based on a formula, each piece of work was individualised using the volunteers’ favourite colour, least favourite colour and placed at their chosen right angle within the square.
As each panel was received back by post, Mrs Wells recorded the order and this has now been documented into a book which was on display in her exhibition. Mrs Wells says she is staying in contact with many of the volunteers, and their letters and cards to her during the creative process were also showcased.
The needlework venture, and Mrs Wells involvement in a local knitting group, Kniteratti, has raised important discussions about how craft based processes can connect and engage communities, sharing knowledge and techniques that ultimately regenerate creative ideas and thinking.