We need your help!
Quilts4London and A Gift of Quilts, projects awarded the Inspire Mark of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad under the umbrella of the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles, are appealing to 2012 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and delegates to contact them directly, to ensure that all teams and sports are provided with their gifts of handmade textile pennants and quilts .
Both projects, which started in 2008, were set up as community projects for people to get involved with the London Olympic Games by sewing these commemorative gifts for all the Olympic and Paralympic Teams and athletes.
With initial targets of 12000 pennants and 450 quilts, they attracted a great deal of support from people of all ages and abilities, many who had never sewn before. With an age range of 2–103, social groups, schools, the scout & guide association, WI’s, U3A, prison groups and many individuals joined together to celebrate the Games in a personal way.
Both projects surpassed their targets, with 17,000 pennants and 460 quilts being received. 35,000 people took part, creating a lasting 2012 legacy in the revival of traditional textile skills being taught to children. 7,000 have been taught life skills that they too can pass onto their children. The self-funded organisations have been entirely run by volunteers. Quilts4London has a team of 10 led by Irene Heathcote and Catherine Hill in Hertfordshire and 15 co-ordinators in the UK and Australia. A Gift of Quilts is organised by Jenny Rundle and Sharon Garrick on the Hampshire/Wiltshire borders with 2 team members.
Both projects have received advice and support from Voluntary Arts and the Cultural Olympiad organisation operating alongside LOCOG. The latter arranged for the pennants to be included in the Official Gift Bags for the Paralympic Athletes and their Support teams, handed over in March 2012. Pennants & quilts have been presented though receptions and events held by Local Authorities, Universities and at other venues but not all countries have attended training camps in the UK and the projects needs to make contact with the Olympic participants from the remaining countries so that they can receive the quilts & pennants whilst in the UK for The Games. If you are participating or know someone who is and they have not received a pennant or their country a quilt, please contact us.
2012 has seen several important exhibitions, for the public, as well as the people who made these gifts, to see how much of an impact the projects had made. All 420 quilts from A Gift of Quilts and 3000 pennants from Quilts4London were exhibited together at this year’s Stitch and Craft show held at Olympia, which was visited by Annie Lush of Team GB, and a member of the LOCOG team, who were overwhelmed by the work and commitment that had been shown by so many people. Pennants have also been displayed at The House of Commons, View Tube overlooking the Olympic Park, the Quilt Museum in York and Museums in Macclesfield, Newbury, Luton and Bath.
The recent Amateo Conference, in London, organised by Voluntary Arts UK, gave the two projects the opportunity to meet with European delegates from Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Slovenia, the Republic of Ireland and Croatia. Quilts and Pennants were presented to the delegates who were in awe of what had been achieved by the participants of the projects. The Brazilian Cultural delegates have been enthusiastic about receiving their gifts at a forthcoming event in London, in anticipation of the 2016 Games in Rio.
Both projects have been recognised nationally and internationally and have been featured in press coverage throughout the world. Quilts4London’s website has been captured as part of the British Library Olympic Digital Archive.
Further details and pictures will be available on the websites www.quilts4london.org.uk and www.agiftofquilts.co.uk
Jenny Rundle Tel: 01264 358118
Irene Heathcote Tel: 01442 404234