Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Occupation Tapestry * States of Jersey

It was quite by accident that I came to know of this tapestry, having come across this little book by Angela Sutton in a second-hand bookshop on one of my travels. Worked to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation, the Occupation Tapestry is probably the greatest community project ever undertaken in Jersey. Over 300 islanders worked for 30,000 hours to produce the tapestry which is made up of 7,500,000 stitches.

The Occupation of Jersey by the German forces lasted from 1 July 1940 until 9 May 1945. It was a pivotal period in the Island’s history. To keep alive the knowledge of the Occupation and the joy of the subsequent Liberation, it was decided to create a tapestry. The initial idea was for a single panel, but the idea grew and eventually twelve panels were designed, each 6 feet wide and almost 3 feet high, with each parish taking responsibility for one panel. The designer was Wayne Audrain and the stitching was done by a team of workers in each parish.

Each volunteer was asked to stitch a sample piece to ensure an even standard throughout the tapestries. The tapestries themselves were worked on a brown canvas - 16 threads to the inch - using 2 strands of Appletons crewel wool in size 22 needles. The stitch used was Basket Weave Tent Stitch.

It took seven years to create the tapestry, which can now be seen in the Maritime Museum in the Quay, opposite Liberation Square. For more details, click here.

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