Fine Cell Work

Logo of Fine Cell Work. Logo of Fine Cell Work.

Fine Cell Work is a registered UK charity that teaches prisoners the crafts of embroidery, quilting, cross stitch embroidery and other fine needlework. The finished products are sold and the money goes to the prisoner. The charity works with about 450, mostly male prisoners per year. The charity was started in 1997 and now works in 29 prisons in England, Scotland and Wales.

Over sixty volunteers, some of them members of the Embroiderers’ Guild, others who have taught at the Royal School of Needlework, hold bi-monthly group workshops for both male and female prisoners, who then sew in their cells. Finely crafted cushions, bags, quilts, rugs and wall hangings are sold on-line, at special events and by commission. Forty to fifty female prisoners, for example, were taught twelfth-century needlework techniques in order to complete 48 cushions for English Heritage’s restoration of Dover Castle (finished 2009).

In addition, inspired by nineteenth century convict quilts, the Victoria and Albert Museum commissioned a quilt made by male prisoners at HMP Wandsworth, depicting scenes from the prisoners’ daily lives, for an exhibition on British quilting (VA T.27.2010). Commissions have also come from churches in both the UK and the USA for large-scale hassock projects. Opportunities are also provided for prisoners to learn machine-finishing of textiles and the production of upholstery, in order to increase their chances for paid employment upon their release from prison.

Digital source (retrieved 19 April 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 28 June 2016).


Last modified on Thursday, 27 April 2017 11:19