Stitch Away the Stigma – First Floor of the 1912 Mill

18th - 20th November 2022

Yorkshire textile artist Natalie Needham is telling stories about caring for a loved one with drug, alcohol & gambling addictions in a stunning and moving exhibit, opening this November on the First Floor of our 1912 Mill.The exhibition highlight is a beautiful 50-foot wall hanging, made of around 400 individual squares contributed by people caring for a loved one with alcohol & drug addictions from across the world.

Natalie has lovingly hand-sewn each square together to create a spectacular piece of emotionally-charged art, designed to raise awareness about the challenges carers face, as well as being a cathartic and therapeutic exercise for the contributors. The wall hanging will be accompanied by some contributors’ stories for visitors to read.

Natalie started the Stitch Away the Stigma campaign back in 2020 when she supported her father who lives with an alcohol addiction, by hand-stitching her thoughts on scraps of fabric as a therapeutic creative outlet. Realising other people in the same position as her might benefit, she launched the Stitch Away the Stigma campaign; posting fabric packs nationwide to others affected by the addiction of a loved one, who in turn stitch their own pieces and returned them to Natalie.

Natalie’s campaign was featured in the Channel 4 documentary Will Young: Losing My Twin Rupert in May 2022. Since the program launched, Natalie has sent her bespoke fabric packs, a scrap of fabric with instructions to create their own piece of textile art, to over 850 people caring for a loved one with alcohol & drug addictions in the UK, Germany, Australia and North America.

Natalie explains “I supported my Dad for many years who has an alcohol addiction, but I often felt alone in the frustrations that come with being a carer. Stitch Away the Stigma has given me, and other people in the same position, a new opportunity to say things I may have never been able to articulate and discover a vast community of people in the same position as me.
I’m thrilled to bring so many people’s contributions and stories together in one piece of artwork. I hope it helps all of the contributors feel part of a supportive community that comes together creatively, while also raising awareness for people affected by a loved one’s substance use.”

The Stitch Away the Stigma campaign is funded by the Recovery Wellness Collective CIC founded by Colleen Lally.

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Open Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th November 10am-5pm. FREE ENTRY.

A launch event will be held in the 1912 Mill on Friday November 18th 7-10pm. Featuring non-alcoholic welcome drinks from Bax Botanics, music from Daniel Holden, and the opportunity to hear some of the incredible stories from some of the creative contributors.

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