Textile Information

East London Textile Arts

What type of textile is this?
The Newham Map is an embroidered patchwork textile hanging.
Was it produced for a specific use?
We received funding from Transform Newham to create a piece celebrating the borough of Newham.
What material(s) is it comprised of?
Cotton fabric, embroidery threads, beads, fabric paints, and ribbon with faux silk fabric backing and polyester wadding
What are its dimensions?
Approximately 1.5 × 1.5 meters
What year (or date range) was it made?
It was made over the course of a year, 2011–2012.
Where was it made (geographical location)?
It was made by groups meeting at Little Ilford Baptist Church and The Garden Cafe in Cundy Road Royal Docks.
Was the textile handmade or mass-produced?
It was entirely handmade, even the design was hand drawn using a local bus map that I enlarged through drawing techniques, not using photography or printers. It was my personal way of expressing my love for the borough by carefully drawing and travelling in my mind through each individual street as I drew. I divided the map up into squares and added a seam allowance so that they could be sewn together after each embroiderer had finished their piece.
Can the textile be attributed to a specific designer, craftsperson or artist or a company that produced the item?
I designed and drew out all the pieces, then finished the hanging off by sewing all the squares together, backing, and quilting it. The squares were distributed to the women, who are all named on the final piece, and they were free to embroider their square as they pleased, the only stipulation being that the roads should be left unembellished so that the street pattern would be visible. The women chose areas to embroider that were familiar to them—I encouraged them to select colors, stitches, and beads to reflect how they felt about that area. Some marked their homes or local parks in their work. One lady embroidered her dog in the park on her square.
How did you come to own this particular textile?
The hanging lives at Little Ilford Baptist Church and is also lent out for exhibitions.
How would you describe the status of this textile in your lived environment (i.e. do you wear it, store it, display it, use it, etc.)?
It is on permanent display and is probably one of the most popular textile pieces produced by ELTA. It has been photographed and made into a cloth, cards, and other decorative items.
Do you recall what drew you to this textile initially?
What further information (if any) would you feel important to add about this textile, either in relation to your interview or more generally?
One of the things to look out for on this hanging is the God Square. One person forgot to leave the roads unembellished and colored them. Initially I was going to ask her to redo her piece, but then I remembered that in the Amish patchwork quilt tradition in the United States, one area is deliberately made incorrectly; they do this to remind themselves that only God is perfect. As this was a piece intended for display in a church, I felt that I should incorporate this square in that spirit!