People's Stories


Real Life Stories

Being a participatory artist means that I work closely with people in their groups and communities. How stories or memories are brought to life will depend on the people and circumstance.

Here’s a few examples:

  • On Blazing Tale’s Memorabilia project with older people I wrote poems in response to their stories, selected and edited phrases for the tea set we made. Watch a clip about it here.
  • Postcards were designed for a seaside town by Blazing Tales. Following conversations with people I wrote text and poems for a set of 6 cards for the museum to sell.
  • With Dartmoor National Park I devised a story with primary school children based on facts about the old train line and social history. I wrote and devised a storytelling piece which was performed at a community Halloween fire show.
  • On a multi school project with year 6 about their dreams and aspirations I wrote response poems with them.


Mavis sewed a table cloth
Made things for her bottom drawer
Embroidering cheerful, yellow daisies
On mats, covers, cloths and more
She made her mother’s dresses
To guarantee a special fit
It’s easier to sew for girls
For her boys she used to knit
Soos enjoyed counted thread work
Plain sewing didn’t attract her at all
She’d always liked embroidery
From when she was a girl in school
Hazel just finished the tapestry for
All the kneelers in Woodland church
Women with big, curving needles
Sewing badgers, stoats and birds
Jean never got on with sewing
She always wanted to be outdoors
Doing jobs around the farm
Or walking out over the moor
Janet turned the collars
When the shirt threads became bare
Taking the sides into the middle
Nimbly hiding the repair
Pam made all her own clothes
Although she didn’t like to sew
This was how she dressed herself
or if she fancied something new
But she did enjoy her knitting
There was lots of knitting then
They used to unravel woollen things
Wash the wool to use again
Delia’s mother made frills for skirts
And taught her not to waste
She showed her how to alter clothes
To suit her changing taste
She can throw any knitting pattern
She’s a dab hand at making socks
At home she learnt to make and mend
At school to hem and smock
These women are resourceful
Always working to upgrade
Making something out of nothing
With needle, pen and spade
By Sara Hurley. Talking with women from a Memory Cafe, Care Home and Social Club.