Hollytrees Cushion Project Update

9 Sep 2021

By Megan Fowler, Visitor Information Assistant

Earlier this year, we announced that Colchester Museums and the Visitor Information Centre were joining forces to create some very special new window seat cushions for Hollytrees Museum.

The existing cushions within the building are a bit past their best, and we thought it would be nice to replace them with decorative ‘church kneeler’ style cushions, rather than something purely functional. The cushion inners have been made, and six individual designs have been drawn up, featuring famous landmarks and scenes of Colchester. We are now seeking out experienced and confident stitchers to help us complete the project!

A colour photograph showing a window seat. A plain white, rectangular cushion fills the space. The window is covered by shutters


The designs now need to be worked up onto woven tapestry canvas in wool. Once complete, members of our team will attach them to the cushion inners to assemble the finished pieces.

The finished cushions will be permanently on display (and also available for use) in Hollytrees Museum and, because of the quality of the materials, they should last over 100 years!

A colour photograph of a coloured thread and a sketch on graph paper. The sketch shows a man and a woman in period costume walking a dog


This project is not for beginners, as each cushion measures approximately 1m x 30cm. The designs are fairly simple, however they are not perfect in their detail, so our stitchers need to be confident in making independent decisions around stitch placement, stitch type and colour. We estimate each cushion may take 90 hours to complete, so it is quite the time commitment, however we anticipate the project running into the winter, so that time could be spread out over several months.

All tapestry wool, canvas and needles, and a rough pattern will be supplied, so the stitching can be carried out at home.

We will schedule regular online ‘Meet Ups’ for our group to be able to share their progress, and, if there is a demand, we will also look at scheduling in person meet ups too if possible.

If you’re a proficient needle worker, cross stitcher and crafter, and would like to get involved in this exciting project to create long lasting furnishings for this much loved museum, please get in touch with Megan at the Visitor Information Centre on

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