It all started back in November 22 when we were visited by two talented artists, Saffy Setohy and Lorna Swinney from the Remembering Together Project, aiming to reach out to communities across Scotland, encouraging conversations about our shared experiences of the pandemic and gaining insight into ordinary individuals' ideas of what would constitute a meaningful memorial to mark the covid years.

The artists put us at ease right away, arranging the tables in a cosy square and creating a soothing background of nature inspired music, which was perfectly in keeping with the theme of the day. As the bags were unpacked the conversations began to flow and soon our table was covered with boxes of leaves and the room was buzzing with inspiration! 

Residents took care in choosing their leaves, holding each one to connect with nature. Some were put back, deemed not right for that moment, others were strategically placed on inked up plates ready for printing.  As each leaf was considered, conversations were held about the tree that it came from and the place where it grew.  The tendrils of these conversations reached back to recall the places we'd lived, the work that we'd done and the people who made these memories so special. 

Our conversations were caught in the prints we made that day, filling them with whispers of never-ending childhood summers, of snow so deep it went over our wellies and the sparkling glimmer of water well fished.  With friendships shared we touched upon more difficult times but the talk was of the bonds that were strengthened during those challenging early pandemic days.   

As wool was chosen for the next weaving stage, we talked about leaving our mark on history and what we'd say to the generations to come.  Our covid memorial should not be made of stone, it should be a vibrant green space filled with light and laughter, a hub where we can gather and it must have a warm space and cafe! These words of ours were woven in with our wool, giving strength and solidity to ideas as our tapestry grew.

This inspirational day ended all too quickly but the project was not over.  The artists took some time to combine and curate the work crafted by everyday community artists from across the Stirling area and with the change of the year came an invitation to the 'Woven Together' exhibition!

Although the day of the exhibition was grey and wet nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of those who gathered at St Ninians Library on the opening day and residents were thrilled and delighted to see their work on display.

William Simpsons is privileged to be included in this caring and empowering community consultation project.  Our thanks go to our friends, the artists Saffy Setohy and Lorna Swinney, and to Art Link Central for their generosity in putting our Home forward for inclusion.

Residents' words and ideas are now interwoven within a blanket of voices spreading across our diverse community, giving weight to the ideas of everyday people.  In years to come, their voices may echo down through the covid memorials of the future but, for now please take a seat at our table and share in the residents' experiences through the films of our art work displayed below.



♬ original sound - William Simpsons
@williamsimpsons_carehome Residents at William Simpsons seemed to really enjoy their Woven together exhibition, and got to see their work on display. #weaving #woventogether #fyp ♬ original sound - William Simpsons