The Red Suitcase Project

The Red Suitcase project was a partnership between Hereford College of Arts (HCA) and The Courtyard’s Arts and Older People Project. It was the vision of Penny Allen who was a student board member at HCA and a third year degree student studying Contemporary Applied Arts. The project took 12 second year degree students on six-week placements in residential care homes across Herefordshire. Every week the group of students took a red vintage suitcase with sample quilts and inspiration items into the homes. The students and residents worked together to create new quilts.

The craft of quilting has a history of bringing together groups of people from across generations to exchange skills and knowledge. This project allowed students and residents the opportunity to exchange ideas and stories and allowed all to participate; residents didn’t have to be able to sew to be involved. The students aimed to capture the stories of the residents within the quilts.

There was a high level of engagement from all involved and the sessions became a real social occasion within the residential homes. The rewards and enjoyment felt from the residents, students and care staff were felt for much longer than the sessions themselves. The last session was an emotional experience for many involved in the project as new relationships had been formed and untold stories had been discovered.

The residents and students joined together again for a special event at each residential home, where friends and family were invited, to share and celebrate the work created and stories shared.

The quilts were included in an exhibition at The Courtyard during October 2013 and were also entered into the International Quilting Festival Exhibition at the NEC during August 2013.

Click here to view the project blog