Submitted by Joe
I have worked throughout the pandemic in medical education as a faculty administrator.
At the start of the pandemic in 2020, a project called Shared Hearts was set up by our Critical Care team to support loved ones of patients who had sadly died of Covid. The idea was inspired by a similar endeavor at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
The hand sewn hearts were donated by members of the community so that when a patient died from Covid, often in isolation from their loved ones. One knitted heart would stay with the deceased, while the other was given to the family along with a letter from their nurse. This small act of love and kindness was well received with staff and families alike. The tremendous outpouring of donations meant, however, that we had many hearts left over.
I was approached by Onward Arts to create a piece of work incorporating the many hundreds of fabric hearts we had in reserve. I created this tapestry by hand stitching over 125,000 individual pieces of yarn over a four-month period. The technique – latch hooking – although time consuming has been very cathartic and meditative and has even helped with my own anxiety.
The subject is a human eye and part of a face mask modelled on one of his clinical colleagues. It was my obsession to finish the piece and I see it as a memorial and tribute to all of the dedicated work of our NHS staff and for all the lives lost and people impacted by this terrible disease.