The Land of Oak & Iron

Gibside Sewing Group: Climate Change Awareness

The talented Gibside Sewing Group have once again put their creative talents together and have been busy making several stunning textile artworks for the Heritage Centre in Winlaton Mill as part of our climate change awareness week.

All of the new climate related artworks, both inside and outside the Heritage Centre, have been created using recycled or repurposed materials.  The group hope to inspire visitors to be more conscious and to think about every day items that we all use  – to reuse, donate, repurpose, mend or otherwise recycle things that have reached the end of their original usefulness.

Next time you call into the Heritage Centre or café shrub, be sure to take a closer look at the different artworks hanging in the windows, foyer area, café and attached to the building.  It really is impressive how all these individual pieces of art have been created entirely from repurposed materials.


Red Kite

Red Kite: This stunning, framed Red Kite artwork hanging in the window, was made of a complex range of materials, otherwise destined for the waste bin – a wonderful way of repurposing!

Postcards: The postcards hanging in one of our windows were created by different members of the sewing group to highlight the climate change issues in the run up to the COP26 conference.  Each postcard has an appropriate paired statement. Take a look at the other side to see more thought provoking statements and facts.

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves: Made from supermarket vegetable and fruit bags, fused together using heat.  (They are hanging from the textile panels that Gibside Sewing Group produced for our windows last year).

Dragonfly mobiles: Created using bamboo spoons collected while enjoying several coffees, along with plastic packaging.

Butterfly mobile: Aluminium beer cans have been cut into butterfly shapes and attached to a larger butterfly made from wire coat hangers which are wrapped in strips of coloured compost bags.

Buzzing Bees:  These delightful bees were knitted from scraps of left over wool.

Shimmering Minnows: Constructed using plastic food trays and aluminium foil.

Butterflies:  Concertina folded magazine pages and paperclips were used to make the butterflies flutter in the breeze.

Ladybird Mobile:  Made from microwavable food trays.

Sea Creatures Mobile: Plastic bottles, food wrapping, plastic bags and more were used to produce these striking sea creatures.  Helping to highlight the damage done by these very materials when they reach the oceans and seas.

Display case: The nest of Blue Tits was created out of scraps of wool and a few garden twigs; the smaller items in the display case were all made from waste and scraps, including a trinket bowl using loose cotton threads – the result of many months of machine sewing!

Outside Banner:  The largest artwork, contributed to by all members of Gibside Sewing Group is this 7 part banner.

The base of the work was created using a faded and old parasol cover, whilst the letters of the main words are from the slats of an old vertical blind.  The coloured letters of ‘Make Every Day, Earth Day’ were cut out of fused fruit and vegetable bags.  The Earth made from a collage of coloured plastic bags.

Each of the illustrations on the banner were made from waste repurposed to highlight each theme:

Recycle symbol – crocheted from PLARN (plastic yarn made from shredded plastic bags).

Wind Turbines – old zips and plastic knives.  Solar panels from an old skirt.

Flowers – yoghurt and dessert cartons.

C02 Footprints – old denim jeans.

Sun – plastic bag collage.

Caterpillar – fabric covered bottle tops.


The sewers of the Gibside Sewing Group meet regularly in café shrub at the Heritage Centre and use many fabric art techniques, ranging from felting to crochet, hand embroidery to cross stitch, beadwork to hand dying, patchwork, landscape quilting, applique by hand and by machine, photo transfer of images, free motion machine embroidery and fabric painting!

The group have enjoyed learning new techniques and revisiting old skills.

If you are interested in finding out more, or would like to join the group – please get in touch or drop by on a Thursday morning to say hello to the group.


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The Land of Oak & Iron