Meet the makers: Martin Wilkinson
A lovely aspect of having the Quaker Tapestry on public display is reuniting with it’s makers. The 77 vibrant embroidered panels were made by 4,000 men, women and children from 15 countries. Over 40 of the panels are on permanent display at Kendal. Around 30 panels tour twice a year to towns or cities in the UK and abroad. An unqualified success, our tours attract thousands of visitors to each venue spreading the stories behind the stitches.
One of the thousands who contributed to the creation of the Quaker Tapestry was Martin Wilkinson who was happy to share his recollections with us.
”In January 1989 I was just starting a new job. After many years as a teacher, I had come to work in the Africa section of Quaker Peace and Service at Friends House in London. Part of our work was helping organisations working for peace and justice in those times of apartheid, alongside South African Quakers.
At the same time I was getting to know my new Quaker Meeting, at Muswell Hill. I was intrigued to hear that our ‘Hampstead Monthly Meeting’ had been given the job of making a panel for the Quaker Tapestry, and we were all invited to take part. I was amazed and delighted to find that the panel given to us was ‘Quakers in South Africa’, chiming exactly with my new job. What a wonderful coincidence! It felt like a blessing.
Some kind person showed my how to make the right stitches, so I helped to fill in the grey shirt of a kneeling figure in the panel. The panel found its way to South Africa, so Quakers there could contribute, as we had in North London.
And now, by another happy chance, that South Africa panel has come back to London, as part of the travelling exhibition”
Here are our own words about panel F19 South Africa.
During the Boer War, Quakers undertook relief work in the camps where women and children were being held. They also helped return family bibles taken by British soldiers. During apartheid much work was done in Johannesburg to help African families. In 1988, the Quaker Peace Centre was opened in Cape Town to promote peace education, community and economic development, and conflict management.
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