- EHD Highly Commended Award
- Hospital Matters & Hospital Times feature Willis Newson projects
- Photography commissions for 3Ts hospital redevelopment will capture spirit of place
- Ten Commandments of Self Care for Christmas and Beyond
- Hospital Arts Managers’ Forum
- Willis Newson picks up two honours at the Building Better Healthcare Awards
- The Cove Macmillan Support Centre wins RICS commendation
- Timelapse from Truro
- Guardian Public Art Top 10
- CONNECT Website Live
- Willis Newson in the press
- Engineering art
- Recycled garden - Dolphin School Public Art Project
- CONNECT Public Art Programme Launch
- Nottingham Family NHS project announced
- Healthcare Estates 2016
- The Question of Quality
- Creative and Credible in Arts & Health Journal
- Thames Lodge highly commended by European Healthcare Design Awards 2016
- Macmillan Brighton artwork installed
- Installation in Ipswich
- Laura Ford sculpture installed at Southmead Hospital Bristol
- European Healthcare Design 2016
- Healthcare Design & Management Magazine
- Bristol Royal Infirmary facade almost complete
- News Archive
- Art for new hospital buildings in Brighton
- Alive! Evaluation Film
- Arts in Health Conference & Showcase - Feb 2016
- Finalists for Surface Design Awards 2016
- BBH Awards 2015
- Spaces for Dementia Project
- Festival surprises boost people's day
- Innovative sculpture solves practical issues for Bristol Royal Infirmary
- Green Sky Thinking
- Community engagement shapes hospital project
- Southmead Hospital's public art film
- Fresh Arts Festival 2015
- Design in Mental Health conference
- A Better Place To Be
- Elgar House to get new artworks
- Artists appointed to Bristol hospitals project
- Work begins on art for Tameside Macmillan Unit
- What does creativity mean to you? Artists respond
- Creative & Credible
- Harnessing creativity
- Creative and credible evaluation training
- Fresh Arts Festival
- What makes you feel well?
- Backing the stars of tomorrow
- Woolverstone Macmillan Centre Ipswich
- Call for designer to create visual identity for new shared workspace in Stokes Croft
- dOCUMENTA (13): Thoughts
- Vinyl treatments create 'meadow forest' feel
- Veil: A new face for the Bristol Royal Infirmary
- Building a framework for curiosity
- A personal experience of art in hospitals
- Creative Networking
- What did the students say?
- Commission for Dolphin School
- Anatomy for life
- 2014 Arts and Health Training Courses
- Focus on creativity
- Light Box: Evaluation 'changed people's perceptions'
- Take a risk. Dance. Sing
- The Napkin Project: Inspiring creativity
- How we are using creativity and craft to tackle dementia... one stitch at a time
- Guy's Cancer Day Unit wins BBH Award
- Creativity: it really does work!
- Evaluating Arts on Prescription
- Football, a tented city and making builders happy
- BHOC shortlisted for BBH Awards
- New designs for an ambitious city
- Patients and staff create art for new cancer unit
- Artists appointed to Brighton 3Ts project
- Architect or artist?
- New arts in health short courses at UWE
- Introducing the Library of Ideas
- A change of scenery on every floor
- Conference buzz
- What now for art in the public realm?
- Helping to evaluate Happiness
- Art programme for Southmead Hospital takes shape
- New artwork inspired by children
- Art creates 'sanctuary' in new Women's Centre
- Healthy Communities, Sustainable Places
- Willis Newson seeks to appoint an Administrator
- Arts strategy to help transform Brighton hospital
- Three architects shortlisted in BRI facade design competition
- Design competition to transform BRI facade
- Training for performers at Guy's and St Thomas'
- Willis Newson collaborating on training sessions
- Willis Newson wins RSPH Arts and Health Award
- New public artwork for Bristol's Chesterfield Hospital
- Artists recruited for new Southmead Hospital
- Celebrating ten years of Willis Newson
- New Evaluation and Research Lead appointed
- Public art and health buildings guidance and advice
- Mapping arts and health in Bristol
- Willis Newson and UWE create new role
- Community is the focus in Clevedon
- Enhancing the mental healthcare environment
- REACH final learning event
- Gloucestershire Royal Hospital's 'Utopia'
- Integrate early, delegates told
- Green light for Southmead Hospital
- Willis Newson wins Building Better Health Award
How we are using creativity and craft to tackle dementia... one stitch at a time
12 December 2013
The project is a collaboration between Willis Newson, care home provider Brunelcare, artist Deidre Nelson and hundreds of volunteer participants. It is centred on a website – The Napkin Project Blog - which raises awareness of the importance of creativity to people living with dementia and encourages volunteers to embroider and gift napkins to be donated to care homes to use as reminiscence tools.
Lin Feist, Manager of Saffron Gardens, Brunelcare’s new dementia care home in Bristol said: “What has appealed to me most about the Napkin Project is what a fantastic reminiscence tool the napkins are. With them all being based around the theme of home and family, this can mean so many things to different people and evoke very different emotions.”
The first bundle of embroidered napkins was presented to staff and residents at a tea party in November when Saffron Gardens’ staff and residents met with some of the people who have contributed napkins.
“We plan to use them not only at meal times, but also have them placed around the home to act as conversation starters and to encourage different uses. Residents make a beeline for them. They hold them, stroke them, talk about the imagery on them, select a favourite and take it back to their room. Relatives, visitors and staff use them to spark conversation and memories.” said Lin.
The Napkin Project began when artist Deirdre Nelson was working with staff and residents at the care home. She noticed how important fabric was to the residents and often saw people spending a long time smoothing a napkin, touching its edges or folding and refolding it. Sometimes someone would fold a napkin to create a vase for a flower, or make a napkin into a purse.
Deirdre said: “I realised that a napkin is more than just a napkin in the way residents interacted with existing napkins in Saffron Gardens. By gifting the napkins, people are helping to bring additional creativity and fun into the care home. As well as making art, people have helped to create something practical for the care home. It is important also for staff to know that lots of people want to contribute, and care about their residents and the work that they’re doing.”
More than 120 people from around the country have contributed embroidered napkins. Generations of families have shared their sewing skills, colleagues have spent lunch breaks stitching, and the project has got people thinking about much-loved family members and friends with dementia.
The Napkin Project is part of a larger arts programme for the new care home run by Willis Newson for Saffron Gardens.
Willis Newson Director, Jane Willis said: “The process of making the napkins by the volunteers is an important part of the project. People tell us how much enjoyment and satisfaction they have got out of making and donating a napkin. How it has promoted reflection, given them time to think – about loved ones, about how they can help others, about what home means to them.”
One volunteer embroiderer said: “We have lost one family member to dementia and have another who is also suffering so we know how little things can help. I haven't embroidered for many years and my daughters have yet to learn so it will be a lovely process for all of us.”
Willis Newson is seeking to extend the project to other care homes, starting with three care homes managed by Brunelcare.
Maybe you would like to make and donate a napkin for Christmas by creating one over the Christmas break?
Email us at email@example.com to get your napkin. Don’t forget to tell us your name and address.
Photos by Jim Wileman