Blog Post

TEXTiles and Befriending Caithness

Posted 30/03/21 by Calvin Wilson

Joanne B Kaar has been working with Befriending Caithness as part of her CAIR project. Their Senior Co-ordinator, Angie House gives us an insight as to how the project has been going below…

For the last six weeks we have been enjoying our journey working with ‘TEXTiles Fabric of Life.’  The subject is Reminiscing.  The aim is to produce reminiscing packs for Befriending Caithness to use as conversation tools, when the Befriender and Befriendee get together.

We started off by meeting on zoom to discuss different subjects that we could use and come to a common theme. We were just inspired by Joanne’s previous work to the extent that one volunteer (befriender) said “that we are currently feeding off Joanne’s enthusiasm“.  Joanne brought her work to life by delivering a talk about places she had produced her projects which was just fascinating to us.  We were exported to all over the world it seemed.

Joanne then gathered information from the Befrienders regarding pictures, words and questions they would like to put on the garments.  This project is so much more than sewing, it is about conversation.   Some of our Befrienders had not sewn before, however, Joanne assured them there was a place for them within the group, their ideas and stories will be valuable to use within the project.  The wonderful part of this project is the inclusiveness both the Befriender and Befriendee  have an equal input in the project to the ultimate aim of producing a reminiscing pack.  We all agreed that the project was very tactile which is an advantage to the conversation.

It was agreed that we would meet for the next four weeks everyone very keen to get started, the topic of ‘School Days’ was agreed.  Out of this topic we chose a sub topic i.e. school holidays, Christmas at school, transport at school, games in the playground, etc

The befrienders then received from Joanne, the most amazing sewing kit which comprised of everything they needed including needles and thread (donated by our local sewing shop Elizabeth Fabrics), ribbon, wool, felt, etc. The Befrienders were ready to go with great enthusiasm  and have conversations with their befriendees and start stitching.


Sewing kits

Here is some feedback from a Befriender:

“The project seems to be going really well. Joanne’s enthusiasm and creativity is having such a positive impact upon all participants.  It is good to see everyone supporting each other and it is good to see that there is support from non-sewers too.  It’s great to see that the befriendees are on board too.  The topic is a good point of discussion when talking to befriendees.  It is also good to not only reminisce about schooldays, but the project is giving everyone a focus for the future.  Discussions about the past and future helps to shift the focus from the present and the inevitable discussion about coronavirus, lockdown and vaccination.”

We are continuing to meet on zoom and looking forward to different aspects of the work being done.  We are hoping that we will be able to produce a postcard for all the Befriendees so that they will be connected to the project also.

Befriending Caithness is hoping to continue with this work in the future and look forward to the time when the Befriender and Befriendee can meet, and touch the garments, and spend time reminiscing about school days.  I feel that it has just been great that the Befrienders have taken ownership of their sewing and worked together to produce a picture of what is important to us – socialising and conversation.

We are delighted that Joanne and Lyth Arts Centre contacted us and brought us into this project.

Angie House

Senior Co-ordinator at Befriending Caithness


Some finished garments