Image: Detail of one of the Same Sea, Different Boat panels. All images courtesy of Sue Brown.
What else generates more warmth than a quilt? In May 2020, three studios joined forces to inspire a dispirited population of artists to create a travelling artwork —Same Sea, Different Boat — a 5m long quilt handstitched and printed with the lockdown stories of over 400 artists across the UK and beyond. This positive, moving work will travel round the country, growing as it goes, engaging people in its mission and inspiring them to create art from the stories, experiences, ups and downs of the unknown world we now live in.
Image: Detail of the Same Sea, Different Boat quilt.
When everyone else was losing their creativity, the team who devised this project used COVID-19 as inspiration. Project founder Sue Brown (The Yard:ARTspace, Cheltenham), and her fellow creatives and workshop providers noticed that while everyone’s lockdown experiences would differ, and we are not all necessarily in the same boat — we are all in the same sea. The quilt is made up of 10x10cm fabric squares that have been printed and stitched with individual stories about personal isolation and lockdown, making it an ever growing social document of the pandemic.
Video: To get involved with the Same Sea, Different Boat project, follow Sue's video tutorial.
Each design is printed onto fabric by Sue in her workshop from collograph plates made by each of the artists across the UK. The squares are sent back to their maker and then stitched into using embroidery, applique, and machine techniques, before being sent back to Sue again to add to the quilt. Now 5m long, the team are hoping that more artists and creators will contribute their pandemic stories to this textile document, to demonstrate how the effects of quarantine have isolated each of us, but reveal how we have had this collective isolating experience together.
Such a project has never been more relevant nor more descriptive of the times we are living through. Whether as viewers or artists, people are welcome to contribute to the life of this quilt, allowing it to grow as we continue with our COVID-19 stories. To find out more how to get involved, visit Sue's website or watch her tutorial in the below video.
Once current restrictions have been lifted the quilt will resume its UK-wide tour. It is currently available to view virtually on the Salisbury Arts Centre website.
Same Sea, Different Boat collaborators include: Sue Brown, Catherine Kingzett (the yard:ARTspace, Cheltenham), Louise Asher (Hope & Elvis, Nottinghamshire) and Liske Johnson (Littleheath Barn Studio, Bromsgrove).