Community to make pompoms for Priory Park

Knitters are urged to get weaving for a giant woollen art installation at Priory Park in Chichester.

Chichester textile designer Helena Hubbard, busy knitting with her giant 50mm needles
Chichester textile designer Helena Hubbard, busy knitting with her giant 50mm needles

Textile designer Helena Hubbard is leading the Knitting Minds community project to raise money for mental health charity Coastal West Sussex Mind.

She plans to adorn the trees with pompoms in the autumn, with the help of schoolchildren and others in the city. The Prebendal School has signed up to add pompoms to the display and will also be adorning the school gates for Wool Week.

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Helena, who runs Crowns and Coronets in Westgate, said: “In 2008, I was a telephone counsellor for Lifeline in Sydney and was amazed at the stigma and discrimination people with mental health problems encounter.

“Two years later, after the premature birth of my first baby, I rediscovered my love of the therapeutic art of knitting and started my children’s knitwear company, which helped me escape postnatal depression.

“Mental health problems come in all shapes and sizes and my hope is that the giant woollen display will raise awareness, while simultaneously bringing therapeutic wellbeing.”

Her own children, Teddy, six, Heidi, four, and Lottie, two, are practising pompoms and have hung their early efforts all over their house.

Helena added: “Somehow creating something with their hands that they can touch and feel and shape makes them really excited. It is a wonderful thing to see them sit together in concentration winding the wool and they have also been really keen at learning finger knitting.

“Outdoor knitting can transform a space and show off the natural beauty of wool in a stunning natural setting.

“The great thing about pompom making is that you don’t have to be neat and it doesn’t involve a computer.”

Pompoms, and a donation of £1 each, should be left at The Eternal Maker, in Terminus Road, Chichester, or posted to 68 Westgate, Chichester, by the end of September. The display will be from October 10 to 16.

The art installation will also includes giant knitted woollen textiles by Helena to mark World Mental Health Day on October 10 and reflect on mindfulness and the importance of the wool trade.

She will make giant knitted sheets of British wool from knitting needles that are 50mm in diameter and create giant knitted sculptures.

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