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You are here: Home \ Trust \ News \ 2017 Jan-Jun \ New tapestry reflects the words that mean the most to hospital chaplains


New tapestry reflects the words that mean the most to hospital chaplains past and present 


The favourite quotes and sayings of Chaplains who have served the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital over the last 21 years have been carefully crafted into a new piece of artwork for the hospital’s chaplaincy centre thanks to a donation from the League of Friends.

The new ‘Threads and Ripples’ tapestry, by renowned Devon textile artist Jacqui Parkinson, will be displayed on the wall in the chaplaincy centre to offer comfort and solace to those who choose to visit the space.   

The RD&E’s multi-faith chaplaincy team provide pastoral support and spiritual and religious care to patients, relatives and staff. The tapestry has been commissioned to capture poignant words and phrases which have meant something to serving and retired chaplaincy team members over their years at the Trust. They include phrases that they have found themselves using time and again in difficult situations with patients and their families and sentences with deep personal significance for them in their work.

Pastoral Care Lead, Simon Harrison said: “We know that visitors seek many different things when they come to the chaplaincy centre: quiet, shelter, a places for prayer or time to think things through. Some want silence, some want words. It is perhaps to those who would seek words that the tapestry hopes to speak. Our hope is that, whatever the situations, there is at least something captured in stitch that speaks to the present.” 

The tapestry has been stitched onto a bed sheet, to represent the sheets which are wrapped round us throughout life, overlain with a layer of natural Dupion silk. The background pattern of spirals and whorls reflect some of the oldest geometric shapes in Neolithic artwork and are designed to imitate raindrops falling on the surface of a lake, with the words of the piece rippling out to affect others. Whilst the phrases themselves have been stitched using liturgical colours to emphasis the Christian tradition that has led to so many of the words and are sewn in one style of lettering to signify the ‘one voice’ they represent.

Artist Jacqui Parkinson explained: “A hospital is one of those places where life's threads sometimes unravel.  So there's something appropriate about stitching lines that, hopefully, will provide people there with words of encouragement, support and solace.”

The work has been made possible thanks to generous funding by the hospital’s League of Friends, who donate funds to help improve the patient experience at the RD&E, and the support of Exeter Healthcare Arts.  

Chairperson of LOF Cheryl Hayes added: “The League of Friends is delighted to have been involved in the creation of this beautiful, thought provoking piece and we sincerely hope that the many patients, staff and visitors to the chapel will find solace and inspiration in the words it contains”


The tapestry was officially unveiled by RD&E Chief Executive Suzanne Tracey at an event in the Chaplaincy Centre, which was attend by the artist, chaplains past and present and children from the Bramble Short Stay School.  

Added 20 June 2017

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