FAQ - STITCHING OUT STIGMA
1. How big does the aida square/design need to be?
• 10 inches by 10 inches – if the design is smaller the square still needs to be 10” x 10” ideally so that we have an easier mission sewing the squares together
2. How will my square be used?
• Each square will end up on a large piece of material (kindly being donated by John Lewis, Cardiff) – were looking for ideas of how to do this aswell as where best to hold a stitchathon/when (maybe Dec 15) and people to help
• This material may have some sort of design, itself, or may be plain. Suggestions welcomed!
• Small groups around the UK (and possibly further!) will then meet to sew the smaller squares onto the fabric ready for displaying. We are hoping to display the artwork at various locations (UWE/LLANOVER HALL) throughout Mental Health Awareness Week 2015.
• Following this, the display will then have a permanent home in Wales thanks to the new Mental Health Hospital Unit who will be showcasing it after the initial display which is super!
3. What can I include? What can’t I include?
• There are no set ‘rules’.
• You can use embellishments such as beads, buttons and fabric (well secured), visual imagery, words, quotes (ideally you should reference where they came from in your written piece should you choose to submit one alongside this), colours or black and white, your personal pizzazz/touch
• All we ask is you make it unique and individual and try to avoid anything intentionally malicious or triggering or copyrighted
4. Help – I haven’t got any resources!
• You may be in luck – join our ongoing exchange event on Facebook, where you can make it known what you need/want in the way of resources (aida, needles, patterns etc) or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
• If you require patterns, a lady, Kimberly, has offered to help design anything which might be needed so get in touch if this is the case! Daisy has also offered some designs kindly! Thanks ladies!
5. Where do I send my piece to once it’s complete?
• We are trying to formulate ‘local’ groups who can stitch the squares together in smaller sections, so completed pieces can be sent in to these ‘hubs’. So far there is:
i. St Fagans Museum (Cardiff) – c/o Sian Lile-Pastore, St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff CF5 6XB
ii. Whitchurch Hospital (Cardiff) - c/o Simon Joslyn, Whitchurch Hospital, Park Road, Cardiff CF14 7XB
6. Are there any social elements to it?
• It would be ideal to add a social element (especially considering the Mental Health Foundation coverage of loneliness in mental health), individuals are invited to act as ‘hosts’ in their local community, and we’d love to hear about this and post it for people to stitch together – literally and metaphorically. If you’re interested in being a host please get in touch. Our first St Fagans group (21.02.15) went well – so who knows what the future could hold!
• Obviously if you find a group locally that’s super – perhaps you’d be kind enough to share it on Facebook?
• Social media site – Facebook – has already proved a very supportive atmosphere so this adds a social element
7. Do you pay for postage?
• Sadly, we are unable to cover costs but potentially there will be smaller groups local to you where you might be able to ‘drop squares to’ or even help construct eventually
8. What about anonymity?
• This is up to you. You can add your name to your square, or just your initials, or you can simply leave it anonymous. Whatever you're comfortable with
9. Can I do more than 1 square?
• Definitely, that’s brilliant!
10. What do I need to write with my piece?
• It's up to you if you feel able to write a piece to accompany it but it would be an excellent resource, it would help explain the thought, intention and experience behind the piece, and more importantly, the person.
• It would be a great way to record the project for each individual and give an added dimension to the art displays.
• Writing may also help as a healing tool – include this in your written piece if you wish
• What you write may help others to understand your journey/condition/experiences or piece...It may help them reach ‘lightbulb’ moments too!
• The added ‘oomph’ of the writing may also really help stomp out the stigma alongside the visual displays
• Written pieces can be sent in via email or via snail mail with your square. Obviously if you email it would be helpful to identify square with it by emailing a photo too or your name and then putting name with piece of square
• There are no set rules with writing – just use your individuality – it could be a page long or a couple of sentences – both of which can be useful and powerful I believe!
• Only say as much as you are comfortable with sharing
• Get in touch if you want help/advice on writing this piece Don’t feel obligated to do a piece or include any of the below ideas – equally feel free to add anything you want to! Ideas of what you may like to think about when writing the piece are possibly-
• A bit about your experience with mental health (i.e. what you have been diagnosed with or what effects this has had on your life/others’ lives)
• A bit about your experience with this project/services/groups and treatment (perhaps being in online groups is easier than community groups for example, perhaps contributing to this has given you a focus and purpose or caused you stress)
• How you found/thought up doing the cross stitch design you chose (perhaps the quote you included was meaningful or the images represent something personal)
• How you came to know about the benefits of cross stitch (perhaps you’ve heard about it through an article or never thought about it before!)
• How you came to know about this ‘Stitching Out Stigma’ project (did you hear through a friend, or through an article or organisation)
• What's helped and hindered your cross stitch contribution (i.e. time, resources, confidence)
• What’s helped your recovery/treatment (this could be craft wise, treatment wise, therapies, people, relationships, faith, places)
• Any stigma or misconceptions you have encountered about mental health (perhaps someone has said something unhelpful or you’ve feared ‘seeking help’ due to the stigma of your condition)
• What benefits you got from cross stitch or contributing (if any) – maybe social, cathartic, relationships, confidence.
• How you feel about your piece being displayed (i.e. self-esteem/doubt)
• Any connections you feel may be relevant to the idea of ‘getting people talking’, ‘relationships’, ‘nature’
• Anything else you feel may be relevant to mention
11. Is there a deadline?
• Mental Health Awareness Week starts 11/05/15 so the first deadline was 31/03/15.
• FINAL DEADLINE IS DEC 2015 for end piece thanks to a recent decision to extend it in order to maximise contributions!
12. I want to help, but I don’t know how to stitch or don’t want to contribute in this way – can I help in other ways?
• YES PLEASE
• Spread the word, display posters, get in touch with media, host groups (maybe you could hold a stitching supper club or know a venue which might be a good meeting place). Donate materials to members who need it, help with the newsletter, offer support to others on Facebook. And of course, please get in touch if you have ideas of how you could help!
13. I’m not a mental health sufferer personally, can I still join in?
• Definitely - everyone is welcome, we don’t discriminate and in fact it would be wonderful to get all sorts of representations – from carers/public/professionals and those directly affected, I think!
14. How can I keep informed?
Whether you want to stitch with us or simply spread the word to others, or maybe you're a budding writer happy to help us on our newsletter mission – there's something for you here regardless so whatever you fancy doing – we would love to see you help us stitch out stigma!