By Paula McPoland Art & Textiles and embroidery teacher at Friends’ School Lisburn, N Ireland

The visit of selected panels to Lisburn Museum in September 2015 was a revelation.

The subtle, rich colour palette and the textural detail of each panel impressed teachers and pupils alike when we visited the exhibition – even those who had not previously threaded a needle! We were captivated by Bridget who brought this story to life for our Year 9 pupils. She had accompanied the touring exhibition so we were delighted to welcome her and her embroidery to Friends’ School Lisburn.

Our legacy project has been as much inspired by Bridget’s passion for creative embroidery as the Tapestry itself. Our project took four months to complete, from September to December 2015. In developing our theme, we discovered The Peaceable Kingdom painting by Edward Hicks and this along with our awareness of Quaker concern for animals inspired us.

Soon, our Year 9 pupils were creating wonderful oil pastel studies of geckos and gorillas, armadillos and anteaters! Step by step, we developed our colourful drawings into beautiful embroidered panels with a more subtle palette. We chose twenty one carefully selected colours of Appleton’s Wool. As a result, we feel each one of our panels is individual and yet they all work well together as a unit, complementing each other.

Some Pupil Comments:

“I found this tapestry project fun! The Quaker Tapestry is an incredible piece of art that brought inspiration to me and many of my classmates. I would encourage everyone to pick up a needle and try sewing- you never know what could happen!” Holly Thompson

“It is very relaxing sitting down to create a wonderful image. The opportunity to view the panels from The Quaker Tapestry in Lisburn Museum was one not to be missed and the skill used to design every individual piece was awe- inspiring.” Ryan Beckett

“The Quaker Tapestry inspired me and my friends to create beautiful and unique embroidered panels. Huge thanks to Bridget for sharing her stories along with her tips and tricks for creating a good panel” Rachel Wright

“Bridget showed us a really pretty piece of work that she had been stitching. She talked about adding detail and this really inspired me when I was working on my panel. Thanks Bridget!” Lucy Belshaw

“I really enjoyed this embroidery project as it was very different to anything else that we have created in art. I enjoyed learning all the stitches and then designing my own panel. ” Hannah Wilson

“An extraordinary history starting in the Lake District in 1652, founding banks, chocolate companies, building railways, establishing Pennsylvania, chatting with Russian Czars and Turkish Sultans.”

Who would have thought Quakers would be so interesting!