Wolfgang Tillmans - a volunteer's view

Wolfgang Tillmans - a volunteer's view

“It is always an honour to be asked to stitch a commission, especially one that will be sold at Sotheby’s. This piece has been an incredible joy but also a challenge for our stitchers.

This design was initially allocated to one particularly talented stitcher but we very soon realised that to complete the work it would need more hands. Another stitcher was asked to help and the piece was coming along a treat.

At first glance the piece looks quite subdued in its palette but once Steve and Mark started stitching, it quickly became apparent that it required a lot of concentration as there are very many colour changes. By the time the men finished, a total of 110,000 stitches will have been carefully and meticulously placed. Sometimes there can be five colour changes in five neighbouring stitches. The men work from a chart only so this can be quite painstaking.

Fine Cell Work Wolfgang Tillmans No Man Is An Island

The majority of the piece will be completed by a third stitcher, Alan. He has marvelled how the colours blend from afar but are very different and unique when viewed from up close.

As always, the stitchers are very grateful for the opportunity to be part of such an important collaboration.  The men hope that the funds raised from this work will enable more people to join Fine Cell Work. As long-term prisoners, many of the stitchers only became part of a positive community once they join a group. Here, they are no longer judged on their past but can focus on new skills and the future. Along with the new skills come a whole host of other benefits which include confidence-building, cessation of self-harming, substance abuse and dark thoughts. No man should ever be an island.”

- Marion Bedford, Fine Cell Work prison volunteer

Read next: Wolfgang Tillmans on Human Touch


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