Sew Near, Sew Far – Along the River Derwent

Land of Oak & Iron - Red Kite  Land of Oak & Iron  Land of Oak & Iron

The Heritage Centre and café shrub is a lovely place to meet friends and family or stop off for refreshments while out for a walk, run or cycle ride – hopefully it will not be too long before we can welcome visitors again.

If in the past, you have visited the café on a sunny afternoon, you may have noticed when the sun shines from the south, rather too much light illuminates some of the tables and customers.

With this in mind, Gibside Sewing Group were approached and through several discussions (over coffee and cake at both café shrub and Gibside’s café) an idea was formed to create illustrated panels to help filter some of the strong sunlight.

Covering the full length of the windows at the end of café shrub would block out the wonderful countryside views and make the area too shaded.  The group’s solution is to create a 10 panelled textile art installation which will fit across the upper section of the panoramic windows, leaving the lower area open, allowing for uninterrupted views across Derwenthaugh Park.

Their inspiration was the 30km long journey of the River Derwent, from the North Pennine moors to the tidal Tyne.  The landscape, natural history, seasons, history and culture, bridges and industry providing a rich resource to guide the group’s themes and ideas as the project evolves.

Land of Oak & Iron

Once hung, the 10 illustrated panels will bring to life a map of the River Derwent from source to mouth, passing through the Derwent Reservoir and showing the river’s changing character as it meanders through the stunning Derwent Gorge, under ancient stone bridges and linking the landscape and industrial heritage of the Land of Oak & Iron.

The group are currently working as a virtual sewing group, calling themselves ‘Sew Near, Sew Far’ – they are made up from National Trust volunteers, who normally meet in the café at Gibside on Thursday mornings, with each member contributing textile work suited to their individual skills and preferences.

Land of Oak & IronIf you have visited Gibside in the past, you may have come across some of the group’s beautiful work – for example, the Chapel Curtain, created to prevent birds accidently flying into the Chapel.  You can find out more about the Gibside Sewing Group via National Trust Gibside’s website.

The images here give a taster of the evolving project which will hopefully be installed soon after the Heritage Centre and café shrub re-open.