Bandage Me Better is a mixed media textile project that grew out of my musings on the Give My Head Peace blog, where I explore making textiles whilst dealing with life's adversities. It started life as I pondered what I could make from my children's vests that they had long outgrown.
The project uses the fabrics and processes of everyday life, from recycling worn out tea towels to kitchen dyeing techniques with onion skins and avocado pits. It also harnesses the restorative properties of nature; taking the time to wonder at an awe inspiring skyscape, or to marvel at how the sun fades subtle patches on a cherished piece of cloth.
The project draws heavily on the sacred value of the items that support us in the everyday; the things that help us, heal us and nurture us on our journey. We can feel deeply connected to such objects and find solace in them during times of sickness and adversity. There is great value to be had in reminiscing and exploring the history of textile items.
It aims to reflect on the experience of living through difficult times. It explores how we can make meaning out of challenging experiences in our life by using the things that surround us.
Detail of artworks by Janey Moffatt, made using recycled garments including children's vests and bridesmaid's dress worn for aunt's wedding
A series of 'Sacred Stitches' workshops have taken place locally at Hastings Contemporary and internationally at the History Museum of Bosnia & Herzegovina in Sarajevo and in Aida Refugee Camp in Palestine. Activities have included reflective hand stitching, dyeing with household items and recycling pre-loved fabrics.
'Nearly 2 years of Covid was really tough and left me physically and emotionally exhausted. I needed something creative to make me feel good again and positive about the future.'
'Just the chance to get away from normal daily concerns and be in a mindful place for a few hours, plus I learned a lot and was really pleased with what I made.'
Further sessions saw the exploration of the natural forces of heat and light, harnessing these through the media of cyanotype and heat press printing. Warmth and light is something that we can take for granted in our every day lives, yet pondering on this limitless resource provided by the sun can help us to feel more connected to the natural world around us; marvelling at its power and diversity, and feeling secure in something that is much bigger and stronger than us.
Participants enjoyed the serendipitous and somewhat uncontrolled results achieved by letting heat and light work their magic to achieve stunning results.
'I didn't think about a single worry the whole time. Creativity is good for the soul.'
'I had no idea about the process of cyanotype, it was completely new to me. I was so mesmerised by it that it took my mind off difficulties in my life and I felt utter joy that I hadn't experienced in years.'
'The others in the group were so welcoming and because the group was small, we were all sharing hints and tips.'