#OPENUP Flower Meadow

WIP's Flower Meadow crafted by women affected by the criminal justice system

At WIP we love Craftivism – the combination of activism through gentle creative crafting. Arts and Crafts have the power to draw a person's eye, to tell stories and showcase talent. Therefore WIP has launched a national craft project to create and display a huge meadow of flowers each one handmade, using a variety of techniques, by women affected by the criminal justice system in prison and in the community. The meadow will be displayed across the country and be used to raise awareness of our campaigns to reduce the women's prison population.

The idea for this project formed after the response to two events hosted by WIP. The first was an exhibition of a patchwork quilt created in HMP Holloway. Each square told such a powerful story about life in prison including patches with footprints of babies in the Mother & Baby Unit. The quilt was displayed in Parliament and had a huge impact on MPs and Peers.

The second event was on International Women’s Day 2017 which marked the ten-year anniversary of Baroness Corston’s seminal report into women and the criminal justice system. To celebrate and thank Baroness Corston for her dedication to the campaign we presented her with a beautiful bouquet of knitted flowers made by women in HMP Foston Hall, HMP Downview and the Beth Centre, our London-based women’s centre.

The response was so positive to these crafted pieces and the women who made them really enjoyed the project, and so the idea for the Flower Meadow was born.

The meadow has many meanings and represents the campaign in lots of ways. For us we think it shows creativity and talent. It shows potential and is very symbolic of growth and blossoming. Flowers have so many different meanings to different people at different times. We also think that many varieties of flowers and types of craft will show individuality to help combat the dehumanising impact of the criminal justice system. Also craft, art and creativity has therapeutic value and should play an important role for women in prison and in the community, it’s also an important tool for expressing yourself and telling your story.