‘Maindee Stories: The Fabric Of Our Lives’ is a participatory textile artwork supported by Maindee Unlimited's New Paths Fund in partnership with the Arts Council of Wales'  'Ideas, People, Places' programme. http://www.arts.wales/arts-in-wales/inspire/sustain/ideas-people-places/finding-maindee

The artwork was created from April – October 2016 by a group of women from diverse international backgrounds who regularly meet within a frienship group called 'Coffee & Laughs' at Community House Eton Road. They are supported by inter-faith workers Marilyn Priday and Susan Lewis.

We took an inspirational trip to The Victoria Gallery, Bath to see Grayson Perry’s ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ prior to making the work. The project gave us an opportunity to see the potential of storytelling within the medium of textiles. It has inspired everyone to visit more galleries as well as investigate new artists. By touring Maindee Stories, we encourage people to look at their own local history and connections to their community.

Twenty-five workshops took place, some of which had guest artists to deliver them. Illustrator Catherine Cains led a workshop in which plants and flowers from the Peace Garden were used as design source material.

Embroidery designer Sandra Fowler also gave her time and expertise demonstrating stitches and advising on the technical construction of the piece.


Bringing people together, to share ideas and stories about an area of Newport that is the most multiculturally diverse in South Wales. Whilst working together, there were many opportunities to exchange textile skills, connect to new people and share stories. Maindee Stories embeds ideas about place, through story-telling and exploring historical aspects of the area. It has resulted in an increased feeling of pride within our community. Everyone who has given up their time, putting their hearts and souls into the work is inspirational.


Maindee Stories is a triptych made up of 3 panels. The central piece is a graphic street map hand stitched onto sari material. A row of typical Newport houses double up as pockets into which hand-crafted story books are inside. We discovered a talented writer in our group: Susan Lewis who wrote 2 poems for the project.

The 3 panels are threaded onto a scaffold structure, forming a rectangular box measuring 2.5m wide x 0.8m x 2.0m tall. In addition to the 3 panels, on each shortest side are a series of square embroideries that form a grid. On the opposite side, a moodboard displays ideas and inspiration.

'Maindee Stories' is tactile, inviting the viewer to explore and discover its hidden stories and designs. There are 2 outer panels, inspired by ‘Toran’  which can be lifted to reveal hidden embroideries and poems.

Maindee Stories is a celebration and a true reflection of everyone that took part.

An interview with Susan Lewis, about Maindee Stories:


Links to blog posts about the project – there are many more!