TALES provides space for lengthy pieces which elaborate IMAGINATIVE ACTION


Sladebank Woods Open Day, the beginning of the Red Thread installation project


Warm womb of a place

Red tapestries hung richly

in a forest green


Red Thread stitches









The Red Thread Project is a stitching together of many women and girls voices and stories who have spent time on the land at Sladebank Woods, Stroud.


Red Thread stitches help

stories of all kinds to warm

us through winter nights


It began for me as a practical task to insulate the roundhouse when I was donated a huge bale of many pieces of woolen felt. The idea was daunting to tackle alone.

Patricia Brien and daughter stitching in the woods










When Patricia Brien (see her website Liminessence for latest projects) approached me in the summer of 2017 to work on a project with the Red Hearth community for her PhD focusing on Stroud ‘scarlet’ textiles, I suggested the woollen panels and the Red Thread Project was conceived. It started on the Sladebank Woods Open Day in October.


From the sheep came fleece

Factory felted scarlet

Warming the house round


Embroidered panels










Woven to the land

Red Threads trail through the tall trees

Weaving in and out


Red Thread stitches










Practical, tactile

Red Threads connected village

touching dear hearts deep


We estimate that 40 women and girls have participated, in total 5 beautiful and lush hangings have been created. The panels have been mainly stitched together at Atelier Stroud on Monday evenings during the winter months by Patricia and myself.


Kesty stitching panels together









A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed.


Leonie stitching her story













The Red Hearth well wrapped

round in red threads gathered in

Sister’s stories heard.


Women with their wool and red thread story panels













Spinning together

yarns, their fingers threaded red

wild stories are told


I am grateful too for the reflective process of sewing, sparking my imagination over the winter months.  It has coincided with a sense of completion, of the end of a phase in the life of the Red Hearth House for me. My imagination so sparked that I wrote 14 Haikus about the Red Hearth and Red Thread.  I now begin a new phase in my own personal journey.


Felt on felt, a pelt

Wool wrapped around with foot prints

Wild red running through


Red Thread stitching









By a hot hearth fire

the Red Threads were woven through

O women’s wise blood.


The stitching begins in the Red Hearth House













Like cave paintings red

ochre face painted warrior

women create art


Red Hearth House set in woodland, Stroud












Their precious dwelling

Cocooned in wool hung there rich

as any tapestry


The beginning of the Red Thread Project










The hearts embroidered

industriously they weaved

their piece to the whole


First panel completed









The panels were part of a Woman’s Day Celebration and exhibition at Lansdown Hall in Stroud in March 2018.

Lansdown Red Thread


Red embellishments

the women dressed with beauty

their sacred temple


Women’s Circle










The Moon waxed and waned.

Winter days spent sewing red

til brighter days shone


Wool Panels hung in Roundhouse














Ten years ago Kesty founded the Red Hearth House, a retreat for women and girls each summer. Many local women were deeply nourished by the time spent in solitude, and at workshops and ceremonies that took place at the dedicated roundhouse.  SEE HERE – Red Hearth House,

Kesty initiated three Girls Circles that continue to meet on the land each month. The Moon Daughters, Wolf Sisters and Storm Sisters Circles are now organised by mums.  SEE HERE – Girls Circles


Kesty Jakes

March 2019