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  • Skip I, II and III by Dokter and Misses. Photo: Southern Guild Gallery

How the craft world is responding to the pandemic

Supportive initiatives, from digital quilting to charity sales

Organisations, galleries and individuals are finding inventive ways to support the creative sector during the coronavirus lockdown. Here are some initiatives that caught Crafts magazine's eye, beyond the Crafts Council's own compilation of tips and tools. We'll update the list as we come across more, so send your ideas to editorial@craftscouncil.org.uk

Covid-19 Global Quilt

Cockpit Arts

Craftspeople at Cockpit Arts are putting their skills to new use in making equipment for the NHS. Led by jewellery maker Clara Breen, a group of ceramicists, weavers, milliners and stationers who work at the London studios have been sewing long-sleeved, washable gowns and aprons, fulfilling requests from local GP practice managers. Meanwhile, designer Rentaro Nishimura has been working with the National 3D Printing Society to produce visor headbands for frontline NHS staff.

Covid-19 Global Quilt


Started by artists and craftivists Kate Just and Tal Fitzpatrick, the online global quilt project seeks to gather, narrate and share experiences of covid-19 via craft. They are asking everyone to make a square piece of textile art using materials they have at home, depicting their thoughts, feelings and experiences during this period of isolation, and then to share an image to create a digital quilt on the project’s Instagram grid.

Artist Support Pledge

Launched by painter Matthew Burrows in response to the cononavirus outbreak, this digital campaign has made waves across the creative world. The idea is simple: artists post images of their work on Instagram to sell for up to £200, using the hashtag #artistsupportpledge. When they make £1,000 of sales, they spend £200 on another artist’s work. At the time of writing, the hashtag had already racked up more than 50,000 posts. We hope to see more makers getting in on the act.

Loom Chaise, Nicholas Coutts, handwoven wool, synthetic wool, organic yarn, coated steel frame. Photograph: Courtesy of Southern Guild Gallery

Southern Guild

The Cape Town gallery is donating 30% of the price of all works sold from its virtual exhibitionCloser, Still – to charities working to supply food and other essentials to vulnerable families in South African townships, through a collaboration with NGO Afrika Tikkun. The show itself is a response to the current coronavirus crisis – exploring themes such as ingenuity, rebuilding, creative reuse and tenderness. 

Transmissions, Wysing Arts Centre

This weekly live broadcast aims to give artists, writers and thinkers that have had exhibitions and opportunities cancelled because of the pandemic a platform to share their work within a ‘classic DIY TV show format’, put together by RCA tutor Anne Duffau, artist Tai Shani and curator Hana Noorali.


This editorial, professional development and jobs platform is allowing people to promote their online training or networking events for free for the duration of the lockdown, offering everyone a premium listing and a place on its regular newsletter.

Cocoon Cabinet by Marlene Huissoud

Objects to Mark Time, Sarah Myerscough Gallery

The London gallery has invited its artists to create an object to create a work in response to the current circumstances that invites further reflection. So far, the objects include designer Marlène Huissoud’s hand-built miniatures that reference her full-scale Cocoon Cabinet, miniature turned and hand-carved vessels in cherry wood by Eleanor Lakelin and artist Maisie Broadhead’s photographic portrait of her sister Zoë, who is a nurse at the intensive care unit at the Whittington Hospital, to which 10% of sales will be donated to support staff wellbeing.

Wax-printed cotton face mask by Talking Hands

Alice Rawsthorn

The design writer and critic is publishing a series of Instagram posts assessing the sector’s role in helping to fight the covid-19 outbreak, with insights ranging from the manufacturing of personal protective equipment by such organisations as Talking Hands in northern Italy, which strives to create job opportunities and an income for asylum seekers and refugees, to historic examples of design helping us overcome difficulties, including an engraving from 1823 depicting the brutal conditions on a ship used to transport enslaved people from Africa to North America.

United in Isolation

This information hub is pooling resources to help creative professionals work their way through the covid-19 outbreak, including advice on sources of funding, opportunities for learning and creative inspiration. 

Happy PPE origami face shield

Origami face shield

The HappyShield is an open-source design developed by Cambridge University’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation. The design uses the principles of origami to allow anyone to transform a single sheet of plastic and elastic band into a form-fitting, adjustable, comfortable and cost-effective face shield to protect wearers from the coronavirus.

Artist Relief

In the US, a coalition of national arts grantmakers have come together to support artists facing dire financial emergencies owing to the pandemic, distributing $5,000 grants, as well as offering information and conducting research.

Crafts magazine and the Crafts Council are trying their best to support you through this difficult time. During the lockdown we are publishing content online to keep you inspired and entertained, as well as advice on how to continue your craft business during this period of isolation. In the meantime, browse our list of craft books to read and to learn from, plus virtual exhibitions, TV showspodcasts and online courses to help you beat isolation boredom. You can also browse five decades worth of Crafts magazine back issues for free online

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