The quilt was part of my One Year project on the rehabilitative and therapeutic practices in UK prisons based on a correspondence I had with a prisoner in Dartmoor prison in 2016.
My research showed that another learning and therapeutic practice offered in some UK prisons is organized by members of the charity Fine Cell Work who go into prisons to teach the prisoners needlework. One of their main lines is making quilts that are then sold to foster the charity’s work and to support families of those in prison.
The charity LandWorks, in Dartington, Devon, employs prisoners on day release from the nearby Channings Wood prison to work in their vegetable and flower garden to extend the prisoners’ skills sets. If they want to, the prisoners also tend the poultry and learn woodcarving and pottery. It was here that I gained permission to photograph their produce.
The cyanotypes reference Anna Atkins’ pioneering plant cyanotype photography work of nearly two centuries ago, although in this quilt, the cyanotypes were made using digital negatives of plants I had photographed rather than using the original plant material.
The quilt surround is made of recycled denim, including two useful pockets for holding reading glasses and sweets more as a fun rather than a utilitarian detail. Both the denim and the white cotton reference the clothes prisoners on remand wear in prison.
Some of my favourite cyanotype prints are: