Arts Derbyshire


Comfort, the Breast Quilt

Derbyshire artist works with 180 women to create an collaborative artwork that tells the intimate story of women’s breasts, from puberty to old age, and from pain and sickness to pleasure.

Tuesday 17th October: In a unique art project, 180 women and teens (including non-binary and trans people) have shared intimate stories and feelings about their breasts with artist Lois Blackburn to create a rich and beautiful quilted artwork.

The women, from all over the UK, embroidered 180 individual breasts, and shared their own personal stories of anything from pleasure and breastfeeding to sexual harassment, ill health, aging and body image.

The embroideries were then brought together by Blackburn in a 230 x 210cm quilted artwork that is now touring the United Kingdom.

“This is a project that is both deeply intimate- because the people I worked with shared their own personal stories- and yet also universal, because so many of these stories, whether women realise it or not, are shared experiences.” Said Blackburn.

Blackburn, who is based in Derbyshire, held art workshops across the UK with Cancer Support Groups, Day Centres for homeless people, a Trans Clinic, Women’s Groups, 3 Schools, Poland Syndrome Support and Art Students. For those who couldn’t join in a group, she sent out postal packs.

“It’s an amazing thing to offer to young people as it can ease insecurity and normalise our bodies,” one 14 year old participant said.

Over the last 20 years, Blackburn has found the art of making to be the perfect vehicle for exploring taboo or embarrassing subjects in a meaningful way. For Comfort, she invited each participant to fill in an evaluation form and from the responses, 59% said they felt more positive about their breasts after completing the project.

“It made me stop to think about my breasts, and I realised I feel so comfortable in myself now,” said Daisy.

“Creating art, sharing stories, or reading someone else’s experience can give you the courage to share your own, particularly important with a subject so shrouded in embarrassment, constant assessment,” said Blackburn.

“The project has also had unexpected outcomes, in one school, the girls have been inspired to become ‘boob ambassadors’, sharing stories and advice on issues such as breast health and sexual harassment,” she added.

A touring exhibition has begun, and a free downloadable catalogue, full of women’s stories and experiences, tips and advice, and photos of the quilt can be found at which also lists the exhibition tour.

‘I’ve worked with many people on this project and many more have already seen the quilt online and in exhibitions. I’m passionate for more people to be able to read about or see the project, for women to feel less alone, less different, more connected, to be able to tell their story, and celebrate our breasts,” said Blackburn.

For Further information: 

Lois Blackburn


Tel 07511352047


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