Thank you for taking the time to read about the ‘Exploring and recording the narratives, motions and experiences of people engaged in patchwork and/or quilting in the 20th and 21st century’ research project. Please do take the time to read the information sheet below. At the end of the page there are links for all of the downloadable files.
As I delve deeper into literature for my PhD, I am ever more certain of the role patchwork and/or quilting has had in so many people’s lives both throughout history but also in the present day. Fabric, patchwork and/or quilts are not just threads woven together: these fabrics, patchwork pieces and/or quilts carry meanings, memories, associations, emotions, accomplishments, frustrations…they can act as a tangible embodiment of certain things that are personal to the individual and this can occur through everyday acts.
I would really love to start collecting the stories of patchwork and quilters today, from the 20th to the 21st century from all around the world irrespective of age, gender, sex, religion, finances, career, location and so forth! I think these stories of everyday quilters are important and often they aren’t given the platform they deserve. If you’d like to share your memories, experiences, narratives and stories of your patchwork and/or quilting journey then I would love to hear from you (and photos too!) It might be in relation to any (or all) of the points below or another idea entirely….if it has anything to do with patchwork and/or quilting then I would be truly honoured to hear it!
Please don’t feel that you have to have been patchwork and/or quilting for years or that you have to have ‘mastered’ it, I want to hear from everyone irrespective of where you are on your textile journey, no detail is too small. Every single detail added together will give a more comprehensive representation of patchwork and/or quilting experiences during the 20th and 21st century. Any information that you send to me will be anonymised (if you wish it to be) and saved onto an external, password protected hard drive. None of the information that you send to me will be shared without your permission, approval and validation.
I’ve also used the terms “patchwork and/or quilting” because I don’t believe that the two always go hand-in-hand! Patchwork and quilting is often used so freely as a term but there can also be so much variation even within that one term! You might love the slow process of English Paper Piecing but not enjoy quilting. Similarly, you might really enjoy quilting but find patchwork difficult and so you prefer to create whole cloth quilts. You might find solace in the repetitive, rhythmic motion of hand sewing but find machine sewing fairly stressful.
There is no singular right or wrong way to engage in patchwork and/or quilting, I want to hear about the everyday, the unfinished, the “I don’t think it is good enough”, the proudest make, the finished make, the “shove it in a drawer until I feel more able to tackle it” make and everything inbetween!
Thank you for taking the time to read this and please do drop me an email if you have any questions. Please complete the online consent survey if you’d like to take part. The survey is available here: https://sps.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/patchworkandorquiltingnarratives
Once you’ve completed the survey, then you can contact me to share your patchwork and/or quilting story. You can share as much or as little as you’d like to and explore all of the above ideas, none of the above ideas or a mixture of the two! to share your photos, thoughts, experiences and/or questions to email@example.com
I’ve included some questions that could act as starting points for sharing your patchwork and/or quilting stories. These questions are available to download here:
It is completely up to you whether to copy and paste the questions and answer as many or as few as you’d like to. You could send me a free-narrative email where you narrate your own story in your own words with as much information as you’d like to include. You can also send me multiple emails at multiple points in time – like an ongoing scrapbook record! I want to gather the stories/narratives/experiences of patchworkers and/or quilters today so that these stories are not lost and so that I can create a (metaphorical) patchwork of our textile experiences, memories, emotions and associations.
Exploring and recording the narratives, motivations and experiences of people engaged in patchwork and/or quilting in the 20th and 21st century
My name is Naomi Clarke and I am at the University of Bristol studying for a Social Work PhD.
“What is the research about?”
This research aims to be an ongoing collection of data which would allow the narratives and experiences of patchworkers and quilters to be recorded and celebrated. I’m interested in exploring the stories of patchwork and quilters today, during the 20th to the 21st century, from all around the world irrespective of age, gender, sex, religion, finances, career, location, techniques, experience and so forth! Every single detail, added together, will give a more comprehensive representation of patchwork and/or quilting during the 20th and 21st century. If you’d like to share your memories, experiences, and/or stories of your patchwork and/or quilting journey then I’d love to hear from you
“What is involved?”
I’m interested to hear any stories in relation to your patchwork and/or quilting experiences during the 20th and 21st century. Taking part would firstly involve completing the consent form which you can find https://sps.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/patchworkandorquiltingnarratives. After you’ve completed the consent form, then taking part involves sending me an email, with your own words, explaining your patchwork and/or quilting experiences, stories and/or memories. It’s completely up to you how much detail to include, and whether to include images or not. You can contribute once or multiple times as an ongoing record of your patchwork and/or quilting journey.
“What about privacy?”
I may write academic publications and give talks based on this project. I may use direct quotes and/or your experiences, thoughts and the photos of your work but I will not use your name, or any other identifying information without your express consent. Everything you say will be private, unless you say something that makes me worry about serious harm (which is behaviour that poses a risk physically and/or emotionally) either to yourself or to others. If this happens, then I’ll need to talk about this with my supervisor. All of the photos and explanations will be stored on a password-protected backed-up University of Bristol network computer and anonymised. You have the right to request for your data to be erased at any point and for any reason. This request may, however, be difficult to ensure if the data has been suitably anonymised.
“What if I want to share photos of some of my patchwork and/or quilts but I don’t want the images to be used in reports/publications?”
That’s absolutely okay! I’d still love to see any (and every) photo that you’d like to share of your patchwork and/or quilting. Please just clearly state in your email that you don’t want any of the images to be used in any reports or publications.
“What if ‘I am a patchworker but not a quilter’, ‘I quilt but don’t do much patchwork’, ‘I only started patchwork and quilting recently so I’m not very good’, or ‘I have been patchwork and quilting for some time but I’m not confident in my makes’?”
I want to hear from everyone irrespective of where you are on your patchwork and/or quilting journey, no detail is too small. I’ve also used the terms “patchwork and/or quilting” because I don’t believe that the two always go hand-in-hand! Patchwork and quilting is often used so freely as a term but there can also be so much variation! There is no singular right or wrong way to engage in patchwork and/or quilting, I want to hear about the everyday makes, the unfinished make, the “I don’t think it is good enough” make, the proudest make, the finished make, the “shove it in a drawer until I feel more able to tackle it” make and everything in between!
Your participation is entirely voluntary. If you’re happy to take part in the project, then please complete the consent survey (available here: https://sps.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/patchworkandorquiltingnarratives) and then you can start to send me an email (or emails) with your patchwork and/or quilting story. If you don’t wish to take part then that’s okay and this will not go any further. You do not have to take part in this research.
If you’d like to know any more about the project I’m more than happy to talk with you. My contact details and my PhD supervisor’s details (Professor Debbie Watson) are available on the bottom of this form. I’ve received ethical approval from the School for Policy Studies Ethics Committee at the University of Bristol.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Professor Debbie Watson
You can also click the following links to download copies to keep of:
The research consent survey is available at: