Even though I’m now retired from my work within the prison system I still have an interest in the judicial system and the power of rehabilitation to change lives. So I was excited to learn about Fine Cell Work. Actually I was told about the work of this charity by a prisoner who’d been involved with them until he was transferred between establishments. Fine Cell Work enables prisoners, mostly men, to make beautiful textile items, mainly needlepoint, in workshops and within their cells. These are then sold on their website. I’ve started off my picture gallery with a cushion designed by the late columnist A A Gill. It comes in a number of colours and represents a calendar scratched into a prison wall.
While some items are prison themed this is not always the case. I was particularly taken by these appliqued folk art cushions designed by Kit Kemp. Now cells are pretty bleak places. The thought came to me that it must be quite wonderful to be working something beautiful in an otherwise stark cell.
The online shop doesn’t just sell completed items. There are kits too like this wonderful De Morgan Resting Bird Cushion. And if you’re not handy with a needle yourself then Fine Cell Work can quote for the kit to be made for you by a prisoner, complete with piped cushion assembly. They are up for quoting for one off commissions as well.
Let’s move away from cushions for a moment. This child’s quilt is beautiful.
Back to work with a prison theme. I think that this wool embroidered cushion depicting Wandsworth Prison might be my favourite. Can you spot the means of escape?
And onto the charity’s best seller of all time I know it’s early in the year to mention the C-word but over 1,700 of these wonderful turkey Christmas tree decorations have been sold