The project

"The Covid Chronicle is a stitched textile of one hundred and forty parts. It is the result of a masterpiece of vision by artist Wendy Bliss. To have recognised that this epidemic was worthy of recording by seeking an international response through interpretation of thoughts was unique in itself, but to have collated and organised the resulting testaments with needle and thread is a triumph. The work clearly demonstrates mental creativity and agility from all those who have so skilfully stitched their memories transposing them into a moving and unique work of art,"  Diana Springall, art collector, Author and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Broderers.

During the lockdown of February 2021, Wendy reached out on social media to textile artists worldwide to make and donate a panel, set to a template, on the understanding that it would be permanently stitched together with others for exhibition, and eventually possibly sold in aid of MIND, the mental health charity. Separately and together, the aim was to create a sort of 'Bayeux Tapestry', a lasting record of personal experience of the pandemic while it happened. Wendy continues to devote herself to the project and as founder/curator will manage its destiny.

Completed in December 2021, The Covid Chronicle measures 36 x 1 metres, and includes a metre square title page by Lesley Fudge. Every panel received from 15 countries and 3 continents from around the world has been included. Curated for colour and style, the squares were stitched into metre-square units and mounted onto poles for flexibility of hanging in different spaces.

Thanks to a Crowdfunding page, donations made towards the project facilitated publication of a full-colour catalogue to accompany the work as it toured prestigious exhibition venues around the UK in 2022. Catalogues are still available for purchase.  All surplus or fresh funds raised will go to MIND, as have the proceeds from a sale of hearts made by the participating artists for the opening night at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith.

MIND Charity was chosen because working with slow-stitched textiles has proven benefits for mental health.  Indeed, making tapestries kept Mary, Queen of Scots and her ladies in waiting fully occupied during her years of incarceration: envoy Nicholas White reported to Elizabeth, "I asked her Grace (Mary)... how she passed the time within. She said that all the day she wrought with her needle, and that the diversity of the colours made the work seem less tedious, and continued so long at it till very pain did make her to give over."

Participating artist for The Covid Chronicle, Naomi Adams, sums up: "Literally stitching my own story to that of others seemed like a perfect antidote to the disconnect I felt.' 


This project has generated so much enthusiasm and support that if I were to list all the names I'd never stop - the list just keeps growing.  I can make a solid start by thanking my husband Vaughan, who supported me in February 2021, when my own artistic mojo crashed when the second lockdown kicked in. It was he who encouraged me to create something positive out of the void. 

I'd also like to thank Maxwell Flood for his invaluable help designing and creating this website, Jessica Flood, Liam Murphy, and Matilda Fox, for their help with social media.

Without the engagement of the amazing artists represented here, there would be no Covid Chronicle, so my heartfelt gratitude goes to all those who embraced this project with their time, talents and trust, to craft and donate their personal stories so beautifully shared in images and text. Particular mention and thanks must go to Lesley Fudge and Jo Butler for making stunning title panels for The Covid Chronicle, and to Michelle Gilder for organising 15 makers in Iran.  I would like to thank you all for the friendly chatter and ongoing support behind the scenes.

Without the practical help of stitchers, I may have struggled to turn around the assembly of 140 panels into metre-blocks in time for the first exhibition at Sunbury Embroidery Gallery in February. So thanks go to Elizabeth Reid, Kristin Ursell, Diane Boiling, Patricia Fraser, Jane Thomson, Lucy Tubbs, Deb Farmelo, Jan Hopkins, Jenny Jeffris, Jenny Myers and Manoela Grigorova. Thanks to Nick Tilt, Maxine Pringle, Diane Boiling and Debbie Stewart who gave advice on hanging systems for textiles.

My thanks also go to Nick Bolt who generously dealt with the catalogue layout and dealt with the printers on my behalf during the run up to my daugher wedding that April; to Michael Escolme at Spode Gallery in Stoke who masterminded the production of a video interview for use in the tour venues (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm14Q53oNWY); and to Diana Springall, greatly respected textile-artist collector, who visited Sunbury and wrote a much-valued endorsement for the project.

Marcus Beale Architects acted as poste-restante for the panels, and my thanks go to them for their continued support and sponsorship of my community arts endeavours. I am also grateful to Peter Thomson whose enthusiasm helped build awareness by encouraging donations to the Crowdfunding page. Peter's practical help also directed me to various NHS Trusts, along with the Lightbox Gallery, Riverside Studios, and Tinx Newton writing for Surrey Life.

My thanks go to the artists who made textile hearts to raise funds for MIND at Riverside Studios, and all those who so generously donated to the Crowdfunding page for the setting up and running of The Covid Chronicle tour. For additional sponsorship of the publication of the catalogue, my gratitude goes to Chippenham Museum; the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum in Birkenhead; Studio 40 in Neath; and Sunbury Embroidery Gallery.

As the exhibition moved around the country thanks are due to :  Rachel Tackley and Chris Martin at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, for a wonderful launch event; Melissa Barnett's team at Chippenham whose encouragement was second to none, and whose online shop managed to deal with a tsunami of requests for catalogues; Alison Bailey-Smith for arranging for a live interview with Helen Jones on BBC Radio Merseyside;  curator Niall Hodson at the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum in Birkenhead, for especially reopening their Gallery 1 to house The Covid Chronicle;  John Hawks of Merton Priory Trust who installed a new hanging system funded by the Wandle Fortnight organisers;  Bethan Ash and Rosemary Cassidy-Buswell for a lively, musical opening launch in Queen's Street Gallery, Neath. In addition it has been my pleasure to deal with Christina Peumalu at the Chelsea & Westminster Trust and Andy Lesnianski at Acrylidex Framers, South Wales.

The Covid Chronicle panels 1-18 are now on loan for exhibition at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, as a mark of sincere thanks to the NHS staff for their personal sacrifices made during the pandemic. A suitable venue in a public space is being actively sought for panels 19-36. Do get in touch if you have any suggestions or better still, personal contacts.  Simultaneously a permanent home is being sought so the whole 'tapestry' may stay together as intended, and possibly raise funds for MIND in the event of a buyer coming forward.

Thank you for your interest in this very special project.

Best wishes,

Wendy Bliss

Founder/Worldwide Curator.


Location & TOUR DATES
Comments & Quotes
Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, 369 Fulham Road, London, SW10 9NH.
Panels 1-18 are currently showing on the lower ground floor at Chelsea & Westminster in Fulham. The space is open to the public at any time. We hope to find a venue where The Covid Chronicle may exhibit panels 19-36. Each metre square is framed in perspex and ready to hang.
Enquiries welcome via the box below or addressed to Wendy Bliss, Founder, at thecovidchroniclepatchwork@gmail.com
Thank you.
Latest exhibition update:
The Covid Chronicle is made up of 36 metre squares of textile art, made during the pandemic while it happened. It is a unique record of personal experience from around the world. Each panel is accompanied by up to 200 words by the artist, and together they make a historic work of art.  If anyone knows of a large public venue, corporation or institution which might be interested in exhibiting  the second half, or buying the whole work in aid of MIND, the Mental Health Charity, do please get in touch at thecovidchroniclepatchwork@gmail.com .  This major historic art installation would be an asset to anyone showing it: accessible, moving, gentle, curative, and above all, beautiful.
Sunbury Embroidery Gallery :  23 Feb - 3 Apr 2022
Thames Street, Sunbury-on-Thames, TW16 6AB
'This was the first exhibition I have ever been to where I was able to relate to every single piece', Visitor's Book entry.
Chippenham Art Gallery & Museum  : 9 Apr – 7 May 2022
9-10 Market Place, Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 3HF
'Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to tell my story and participate in this wonderful collaboration of so many passionate ad talented stitchers.' R. Marti
Lightbox Gallery : 17 May - 19 Jun 2022
Chobham Rd, Woking GU21 4AA
'Thank you for devising this wonderful collaborative project which has certainly inspired my friends in our village. It has enabled some of us to rediscover our creative skills...and get to know each other in a way that might not have happened otherwise.' E.Lawer
Riverside Studios, Hammersmith : 28 Jul - 29 Aug 2022
101 Queen Caroline Street Hammersmith London W6 9BN
'Thank you, Covid Chronicle, for starting my journey with abstract embroidery art, though I wish you were an awful nightmare rather than our reality'. Mojo & Muse
Merton Priory Chapter House : 10th - 25th Sept 2022
Merton Abbey Mills, Watermill Way (entrance in underpass to Savacentre) SW19 2RD
'Creating the panel was extremely helpful as it allowed me to process my thoughts and get them out into the open - very important when face-to-face communication was not always possible'. V. O'Leary
Spode Museum Trust Heritage Centre : 30th Sept - 5th Nov 2022
Elenora Street, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire ST4 1QQ
'Literally stitching my own story to that of others seemed like a perfect antidote to the disconnect I felt'. N. Adams
Williamson Art Gallery & Museum : 10th Nov - 17th Dec 2022
Slatey Rd, Oxton, Birkenhead, Prenton CH43 4UE
'I hope you enjoy my creation. I have loved the process and the project.' H. Collis
Studio 40 Contemporary Arts  : 14th Jan - 25th Feb 2023
40 Queen Street, Neath, SA11 1DL
'There's a [.. ] large stitched artwork, totalling 35 metres of experiences and emotions from during the pandemic which has been touring the UK...The Covid Chronicle was curated by artist Wendy Bliss, with contributions from textile artists around the UK and as far afield as Austalia and Iran.' Private Eye, Issue 1660, 16.6.23

The Future of The Covid Chronicle:

The Covid Chronicle is available for sale / exhibition by arrangement. The proceeds from the sale of the entire work would be in aid of MIND.  Please get in contact for further details.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.