New designer, Anna Jacobs, launches a new cushion design, Murmuration, for SS16, sewn exclusively by women in a high security women's prison, organized through the charity, Blue Sky Inside.
British artist, interior designer and tutor at Chelsea College of Arts, Anna's SS16 collection launches on her website and in retailers on 1 February.
The cost of producing Anna’s Murmuration cushion through the prison is the same as it costs to produce her other cushions through her usual commercial CMT unit. However, part of the price she pays goes toward the training and qualifications of the women prisoners.
She chose the Murmuration design because a murmuration is not only a wonderful image of birds flying free, but it is also an extraordinary phenomenon of hundreds of starlings working together and creating beautiful patterns and formations in the sky. This seemed to reflect the aims and ethos of the sewing workshop within the women’s prison.
As a single parent who’d recently gone though some tough times, but been helped enormously by friends and family, Anna wanted to find a way to pass on some of that kindness by supporting other women in difficulty.
Blue Sky Inside aims to generate new employment and training opportunities to engage prisoners, improve their self esteem and give them the best chance of getting their lives back on track once they are released.
Visit www.annajacobs.london to view or buy Murmuration cushions after the 1st February launch.
Blue Sky Inside creates workshops inside prisons and employs serving offenders to carry out commercial contracts. Blue Sky Inside’s objectives are:
The first Blue Sky Inside in-prison workshop has been operational in Bronzefield, a women’s high security prison in Middlesex, since March 2012. Blue Sky were keen to incorporate more women into their model because female offenders are a particularly vulnerable group of society. 50% of women prisoners report having experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
'A Stitch in Time’ is a textiles workshop with the capacity to employ up to 19 women. Blue Sky Inside won their first commercial contract from Anya Hindmarch to manufacture 5,000 cotton dustbags and, impressed with the quality, have been given multiple repeat orders, now producing over 10,000 dustbags for the company per year.
The second contract came from Brora and the group have made over 8,000 jewellery bags for the Scottish cashmere company. They have also taken on bespoke orders such as manufacturing a line of high-end coats and dresses for fashion designer Sue Bonham. The women certainly enjoyed the challenge of working with new materials like silk and wool and loved that the garments were presented down a catwalk for a fashion show at The Old Bailey.
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