Arts Derbyshire

Arts & Health

Necklace Of Stars

A Necklace of Stars was set up pre-Covid-19 to tackle isolation and loneliness in housebound older adults in Derbyshire. The original plan had been for individuals to receive one-to-one sessions in their own home with either artist Lois Blackburn or poet Philip Davenport.

Covid-19 happened and our approach had to change – A Necklace of Stars quickly became a remote embroidery and creative writing project where participants received weekly one to one phone calls from the artists, emails where required and parcels of all the materials they needed for the project sent through the post. Artist Lois Blackburn, poet Philip Davenport and songwriter Matt Hill worked with nearly 100 participants, talking for months over the phone.

“Art isn’t usually considered to be an emergency service, but during the lockdowns this was a lifeline to isolated people. Out of something terrible we managed to conjure some little glimmers of hope.” (Phil Davenport, project poet)

A Necklace of Stars celebrates childhood and the night sky in words, song and stitches. The project is a testimony to the power of human connection and creativity in the face of lockdowns and isolation. All of the embroidered stars have now been brought together to create a beautiful quilt which is being exhibited around Derbyshire’s cultural venues, alongside a catalogue of poems and a lullaby soundtrack.

Exhibition dates and venues:

The quilt, catalogue and lullabies are being exhibited at Chesterfield Library throughout 2024. Take this last chance to see it before it goes to its forever home in 2025!

Lois Blackburn, artist: ​​
Click here to read songwriter Matt Hill’s reflection on the project: A Necklace of Stars – Matt’s essay.pdf
Images and writing from the project:

A Necklace of Stars was an Arts Council England supported collaboration between Arts Derbyshire, DCC Public Health, Derbyshire Library Services and artists Lois Blackburn, Philip Davenport and Matt Hill.

Fellow Necklace Of Stars member, Phil Davenport, wrote of his experience working on the project in the article A Necklace of Stars – Phil’s essay.pdf 

For more information, please get in touch:

Contact: Helena Reynolds – Creative Health Manager
Tel: 07395 904386

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