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Arts Derbyshire’s lockdown quilt tours the county

Published: 12 May 2022

A quilt stitched with stars made by older people in Derbyshire during the pandemic is touring the county.

Necklace of Stars quilt

The quilt, and an accompanying soundtrack of poems and lullabies, are currently on display at our Ashbourne Library until 31 May 2022.

A Necklace of Stars is an Arts Derbyshire project that was designed to boost the wellbeing of housebound people over 65 in lockdown.

A Necklace of Stars celebrates childhood and the night sky in words, song and stitches. The project sought to show the power of human connection and creativity in the face of lockdowns and isolation.

A team of artists – artist Lois Blackburn, poet Philip Davenport and songwriter Matt Hill – worked with nearly 100 participants, talking for months over the phone.

Philip Davenport said:

“Art isn’t usually considered to be an emergency service, but during the lockdowns this was a lifeline to isolated people. Out of something terrible we managed to conjure some little glimmers of hope.”

One of the participants, Neil, said:

“There is an aura off the stars, it’s very powerful. It draws us to it, gives us peace. Instead of taking life for granted, I’m writing, exploring it. Opening my eyes to the starlight.”

Our Leader Councillor Barry Lewis, Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture, Tourism and Climate Change, said:

“The lockdowns were difficult for us all, but particularly for people who were already isolated and could no longer be visited by friends and family in their own home.

“A Necklace of Stars, by enabling people to create beautiful and meaningful art with others in the same situation, allowed them to make connections and tackle loneliness.”

Ann Wright, our head of arts, said:

“A Necklace of Stars continues and expands the work of Arts Derbyshire and Derbyshire Libraries to engage with isolated members of the community through innovative art. We’ve developed our programme of arts and health work over the last 10 years, creating the Age Friendly Standards for Arts Projects; this project continues pioneering artistic excellence in Derbyshire.

“While the wider world became a place of fear for many older people, here embroideries, poems and songs reached up to the shared night sky as a way to escape.”

The quilt can also be seen at:

Necklace of Stars is an Arts Derbyshire project, with our Public Health and Derbyshire Home Library Service, funded by Arts Council England.