The unique jubilee gift for the Queen by Winford's Wearpurple arts project

What do you give the Queen? The answer for a group from Winsford is a unique rag rug, as Paul Mackenzie reports Photography by Kirsty Thompson

It’s never easy giving the Queen a gift. For a start, whatever you decide to present to her she’s likely to already have one, and hers will be bigger and better. And probably gold. But although she’ll be unwrapping scores of presents this year as she celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, a group of women from Winsford have come up with a truly original idea.

Members of the Wearpurple arts project, which is run by Age UK Cheshire, are creating a designer rag rug to mark the celebrations.

But although the rug is being made at the Dingle Recreation Centre, pieces of fabric have been donated by scores of famous names from the worlds of fashion and music including Brian May, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Rachel Trevor Morgan, who all have a connection to the Palace.

Brian May performed God Save the Queen on the top of Buckingham Palace at the Jubilee celebrations in 2002, Vivienne Westwood, dubbed ‘The Queen of Punk’ received an OBE from The Queen in 1992 and Zandra Rhodes, who also received an OBE in 1997, is a regular designer to the royal family.

The making of the rug is being overseen at a series of workshops by Knutsford-based textile artist Lynne Stein. She said: ‘The rug features a number of images – a Union Jack, some diamonds for glitz and bling and even a couple of corgis.

‘All the people who have helped to make the rug were new to rag rug making and they have all found that it is not only creatively engaging but is also quite therapeutic and a quite a bonding experience.’

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Lynne, who also runs rug and felt making workshops at her Knutsford home studio, is writing a book, Rag Rug Creations: An Exploration of Colour and Surface, which is due to be published in time for Christmas 2013 and will host an exhibition of her work at Knutsford Heritage Centre in October 2012.

The Wearpurple project – the name comes from a poem by Jenny Joseph – was launched in 2001 to give people over the age of 50 the chance to work with local artists to learn new skills and gain confidence in their creative abilities.

Simone Cobbald, the project coordinator said: ‘It is a fantastic privilege for Wearpurple to be involved in such a project and we are delighted to be working with Lynne.

‘We’ve had so much interest in this course and I can’t wait to see the finished article.’

The print version of this article appeared in the March 2012  issue of Cheshire Life 

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