VIDEO: Cancer recovery leads to patchwork project

Fighting off cancer led a Horsham woman to take her business, stitching up patchwork pieces of art, to the next level while also raising money for charity.

Esther Clark, who runs Life in Patches from her Sedgwick Park home near Horsham, has received several unusual commissions such as one woman in Brighton, who asked for a patchwork piece depicting her grandmother’s house in Italy which she remembers visiting as a child before the war.

JPCT 100513 S132000261x Esther Clark patchwork artist , -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 100513 S132000261x Esther Clark patchwork artist , -photo by Steve Cobb

She has called Horsham her home for the past 21 years after leaving her native Holland around 30 years ago.

Buildings are her favourite subject to portray, although quirky details on the windows and fascias often provide her with a challenge.

She said: “It’s fabulous selling them but a bit scary. It becomes a bit of a baby and you get attached to it.

“Parting with it on the one hand it’s good after four weeks because you’re glad to get rid of it, but you think about how it will be received.

“So far they have been fairly well received.”

The first step is putting together a design as well as finding all the material, deciding what mood of the piece should be and whether it be day or night, summer or winter.

Asked where the love of patchwork pieces came from, she said: “I have always made things and I have always liked fabrics. I did a teaching qualification in textiles, made children’s clothes and fun things .

“This came about when I had a health issue. You find you have a choice and you have to think about what you want to do in life and I decided to spend a lot of time doing this.”

Through her work she has raised around £23,000 for Cancer Research UK, as she was diagnosed with cancer a year before her husband, while a friend, cousin, and uncle have all suffered from the disease.

Does she have any favourite pieces? She said: “I like them all and perhaps for me what makes them into a favourite is how much I enjoy working on them.”

She holds occasional workshops and has exhibited her work including her patchwork portraits of iconic figures.

For more information visit www.lifeinpatches.com