The original Cloth of Kindness was made by artist Sally-Anne Lomas for the exhibition Julian of Norwich: Creativity and Compassion at the Burning Bush Barn Contemplative Art Gallery.
Inspired by Julian of Norwich's belief that we are 'enfolded in divine love' Sally-Anne sought to find a means of making this concept physical.
Artistic inspiration came from the embroidered textiles of Lorina Bulmer, a resident at the Great Yarmouth Workhouse in the late 19th Century.
Sally-Anne invited people to send her their thoughts and experiences of compassion and scraps of red material. She embroidered these words, together with her own meditations, and the words of Julian of Norwich, to make a Cloth of Kindness.
The Cloth was exhibited so that people could snuggle underneath it and be enfolded in loving messages of compassion. They were also invited to sew their own thoughts on compassion on patches of material.
And so the Cloth of Kindness project was born.
We have now run many workshops and made Cloths of Kindness for the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Chapel and the Big C Centre at the hospital. These beautiful embroidered works have been sewn by many hands, staff, patients, visitors, and volunteers.
In the Big C Centre the cloths are used in the relaxation room for patients undergoing treatment. The NNUH Chapel Cloth has been used in services, including the Norwich Cathedral service to celebrate the work of the NHS.
We are now running Cloth of Kindness projects with the Big C Centres in Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn and with the Theatre Royal Creative Matters Project with Dementia sufferers.
Sally-Anne has been joined by Project Manager Gill Perks and a team of volunteer stitchers and we are keen to reach out to other vulnerable people and enfold them in love through this textile arts project.