Heart to Heart
My name is Lynn Pilgrim. I moved to Kidlington with my husband and 5 week old baby in the week
between Christmas and New Year with a plan to stay for 5 years — that was 30 years ago!
I spent 20 years as a nurse working at the Old Radcliffe Infirmary, Churchill and ‘New’ John Radcliffe
hospitals and then 20 years running a childrens’ injury prevention programme 'The Injury Minimization Programme for Schools' (I.M.P.S.)
learning all sorts of random skills along the way.
These days I still work two days a week as a project manager for I.M.P.S. but I also spend as much time
as possible working with textiles and mixed media in my little summerhouse in the garden.
I am passionate about swifts, love cooking and eating, gardening, walking, travelling and cinema.
I am a member of the Oxford Embroiderers Guild and enjoy the challenge of taking part in many
textile projects and exhibitions.
I have recently been involved with two similar but very different projects, both
commemorating the pincushion hearts that injured servicemen made during their convalescence
in the First World War.
Sawdust Hearts Project
Supporting former Servicemen and Women.
The Sawdust Hearts Project
organised by the wonderful Helen Birmingham from Untangled Threads
to highlight the benefits of Occupational Therapy and the power of craft in healing.
It involves the co-ordination and creation of 1,568 replica, embroidered and pinned WW1 sawdust filled hearts.
This is one for every day of the First World War.
In November 2018 the hearts will be displayed in an ambitious artwork which will form the
centrepiece of a commemorative exhibition and public event to be held on the centenary of
Armistice Day 2018 at Woodend Creative Workspace in Scarborough.
5% of all sales related to this project will be donated to Combat Stress a charity which
supports former servicemen and women to deal with issues like trauma, anxiety, depression
and post-traumatic stress disorder.
1,568: a heart for each day of World War I.
Wounded soldiers made hearts to send back home.
Military pin stuck pin cushions were made during the First World War and injured soldiers
made them for their sweethearts, wives and mothers. The therapeutic effect a wounded soldier
gained by making and sending a sawdust heart was immense and the practice of Occupational
Therapy can be traced back to this time in history.
You can read all about the history of the military sweetheart pincushions in
Diane Grant's book “Forget me not”
I was drawn to this project as soon as I stumbled upon it and wanted to take part.
It was an exciting moment when the box and all its contents arrived and I spent a
happy half hour or so watching all of the information "how to" videos on Helen's
website which gave such a great overview of the whole process.
I had a sample of gesso, acrylic and free machine embroidery I wanted to incorporate
and that along with a green velvet fabric and beads from my stash formed the starting point.
I found the pinning of this heart very therapeutic and can quite understand how it would have
helped with the recovery of injured service men, especially if they were making a heart for a special woman in their lives.
You can view all of the sawdust hearts in the Commemorative Catalogue
which will be available from early November 2018.
Green velvet fabric and beads formed my starting point, and grew my
of how making helped the recovery of injured servicemen.
Embroiderers Guild 100 Hearts
My Eureka Moment!
The Embroiderers Guild
100 Hearts project is to commemorate the life of a loved one or those who died fighting in WW1,
those who survived the war and those waiting at home. The completed embroidered hearts will be exhibited in various
locations around the UK.
As a former nurse I knew I wanted to commemorate the lives of the nurses and VAD's from WW1 and when doing my
research I came upon this poem by Vera Brittain.
Epitaph On My Days in Hospital
I found you in a holy place apart
Sublime endurance, God in man revealed,
Where mending broken bodies slowly healed
My broken heart
I knew instantly that I wanted to include this powerful and moving poem on my heart and spent many hours trying
to work out how. Eventually, I stumbled upon a sample of mono printing and stitch I made last year. This gave me
the Eureka moment I needed to spur me on to completion. The printed landscape with its muted colours in dark grey
looked to me like a battle field and the tiny pricks of red symbolised the poppies that grew in the battle fields.
I printed the poem onto fabric and stitched the words onto the felt heart. The muslin fabric between the two halves
has been left to fray organically and this is to symbolise bandages. As a final stage I added small amounts of red
acrylic paint to symbolise blood.
Being part of this project really made me think about how the moving words of Vera Brittain brought all of the
elements of my design together to portray this powerful message.
I printed Vera's poem onto fabric and stitched the words onto the felt heart.
My heart is exhibited at The
Bucks County Museum Aylesbury up until 12th January 2019, and you can read more about
these projects by following this link
Please address any comments you may have about this article to:
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