During this summer of Magna Carta celebrations, Doddington Hall near Lincoln is staging a fascinating exhibition of quilts and needlework entitled ‘Voices from the Inside’. A series of inspirational workshops has also been created.

The exhibition will explore what it means to be ‘inside’ and the power of stitchwork to communicate, rehabilitate and heal. Curated in partnership with Fine Cell Work, (the charity that trains men and women in prison to do high-quality, paid needlepoint) there will be several pieces made by prisoners, alongside other works made by nuns, carers, invalids, soldiers and artists.

From Sunday 14 June to Bank Holiday Monday 31 August (on open days) ‘Voices from the Inside’ will show visitors a wide array of intricately-stitched and beautifully-finished handmade quilts, each with its own unique history and story. The series of workshops will invite participants to make a quick patchwork quilt in a day (18th June); make a patchwork bag from Liberty prints (25th June); make a patchwork and appliqué mini quilt (2nd July); learn about improvised piecing (9th July) and learn how to make cathedral window patchwork (16th July).

Exhibits will reveal the almost forgotten memories of communities. Tracy Chevalier's highly moving 'Sleep Quilt', made in Wandsworth Prison, brings to light what sleep means to the maker of each section whilst the inspirational 'Help For Hero's Quilt' strikes a poignant note. Artist Grayson Perry has loaned his ‘Right to Life’ quilt to the exhibition plus a moving quilt from a convent in Suffolk will be included, recording the signatures of all the nuns who worked on it.

Fine Cell Work has been working within our prisons for many years and gives prisoners an opportunity to learn a skill and affect a change within themselves, a change that in turn helps to benefit the wider community. The organisation makes items that are in turn sold to support future projects; some of those displayed will be on sale during Doddington’s exhibition.

“Our evocative exhibition will be both fascinating and interesting with approx twenty quilts on display throughout the House,” explains Claire Birch who runs Doddington Hall alongside her husband James. “Sewing and stitching to these high standards takes skill, patience, time and practice so it will quite extraordinary to observe the handiwork plus imagine the lives of those who made them.”

Voices from the Inside’ will run from 14 June to 31 August and be available to the general public on open days (Wednesdays, Sundays & Bank Holiday Mondays - 12noon - 4pm). Gardens open 11am. Entry to the Exhibition is included with House and Gardens admission. The quilts will be displayed inside the House. Adult £9.50 – Family £26.00 - Child £4.75. Groups are very welcome by private appointment outside of standard opening times - please contact our House Manager to discuss 01522 694 308 / info@doddingtonhall.com. Booking information about individual workshops on www.doddingtonhall.com/calendar-events.php