Collection of Tapestry Kneelers

Located around St Andrew's church pews are a collection of hand-made kneelers that each show a small section of the Stitched Map hanging on the South aisle wall.

Created between 1996 and 2000 there are 44 kneelers in all. 42 of which form a jigsaw of the completed Stitched Map, 1 sample kneeler and 1 which records the names of those involved in the parish project. Each kneeler has over 28,400 stitches, which makes more than 1,249,600 stitches in total. They were made by 36 residents ranging in age from 10 to 75 years old and took 4 years to complete. The kneelers are stitched in Paterna wool on canvas using a variety of tapestry stitches including; Tent, Bargello, Florentine and Half cross with textured addition.

History and creation of this artwork

Whilst involved in the making of the Stitched Map, resident Janine Brown was inspired by another map depicted on kneelers at a common ground exhibition at the Barbican in London. Once the Stitched Map was complete Janine was looking for a new project. She realised she could use photographs taken of the Map, placed in a grid and design a set of kneelers for St Andrew's Church to compliment the original work.

After discussion with the then vicar, Rev Robert Sanday, and the Parish Council, the kneeler project became the villagers Millennium project. Having launched the community project at the School fete in July of 1996 Janine developed her idea through the summer. It was instantly popular with many of the villagers, some offering to stitch a kneeler and other to sponsor one. Many had not had the chance to participate in the making of the Stitched Map and wanted to be part of this new community project.

Janine designed and co-ordinated the entire project. She sourced the materials and then simplified and translated each section of the map to a cross stitched pattern on each kneeler. Each stitcher then choose a section of the map to create. They were given a kit containing canvas, tapestry needle, coloured wool a chart for lettering and a pattern of stitches to use. The top part of the kneeler had to follow faithfully the main design but the sides were another matter. The stitcher was able to personalise the edges, often adding their name and the date. Others added motifs, special dates to be remembered and dedications.

Like the original map, the kneeler project was a big community project which captured the imagination of the village. When viewed together in the church they enhance each other and make a talking point. They are a record of how the village looked at the time of making in the 1990's.

Janine passed away in 2007. She was rightly proud of both the map and the kneelers which are a memorial to her many skills.

Information for this article has been taken from the Wanborough Parish Map leaflet produced by Barbara Parnell and Brian Clarke 2014.