Photo: Hygge Applique Panels

Design and create a textile panel with recycled materials using applique and simple stitch, through colour, texture, pattern and motifs. Although this workshop started looking at the notion of ‘hygge”, the workshop can be focussed around on any specific theme or left open to participants, linking just through technique rather than topic.


2017 was year of “hygge,” a Danish term defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Pronounced “hoo-guh,” the word from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console,” which is related to the English word “hug.”

The visualisation of a ‘safe or happy space’ can help to combat negative emotions and encourage positive mental health. Using the idea of a safe place and colour theory, we ask participants to think of a place either real or imaginary that represents a calm/safe/happy environment. This could be landscape or domestic, somewhere present or in the past. Although there are common theories regarding colours and imagery, we encourage participants to explore both visually and verbally with each other if comfortable, their own personal connections in creating their special place.

We use simple textile techniques to achieve a visual patchwork panel or collage to create these ‘special’ places either as quite direct representations or just capturing the essence though colour, textures and pattern/motifs. Words, quotes or mottos can also be added using hand or machine embroidery. Participants are encouraged to bring scraps of fabric and old clothes to include in their pieces to make them more personal.

The techniques are easy to learn and effective at creating an immediate result so participants feel they have achieved an individual outcome by the end of the session. They are all techniques that can be done at home so if they feel they want to add more to their panel, they can. The panels would be suitable to be framed and hung on the wall or attached to a cushion or bag as a visual reminder of the feeling of safety & wellbeing and encourage positivity.

This workshop was developed with Simone Frater-Russell to accompany our “Time” exhibition at Arc centre in Stockport. This workshop was run with a paying public group and as a session for one of their in-house mental health groups. The photographs feature both groups.

Also photos from workshops as guest tutor at Wigan & Leigh Archives, Creative Coati and Stitch Club (online workshops).