A: How did the PEG start?
PEG: Just over 5 years ago, I shared a cartoon on my facebook page. I had sent the New Yorker cartoon, by Rina Piccolo, to my mum years before, and she had stuck it in one of her embroidery books. It had fallen out that day, and my dad had scanned it and emailed it back to me. It said "Mrs Winchester finds a positive outlet for frustrated negative energy" and shows a delightful older lady happily embroidering flowers and birds and Fuck The World. It caused quite a reaction amongst my friends, and Wendy Robinson came up with the Profanity Embroidery Group (PEG) title and said 'come on, lets make this happen' or words to that effect. So we agreed to meet in the pub the following week and see what happens. Most of those that turned up were not friends, but friends of friends who had been told of our bonkers notion. It was a great evening of swearing and drinking, and we came up with the idea of making the Quilt of Profanity.
A: When meeting up do you work on specific projects or stitch for the fun of it?
PEG: We work on specific projects, but hopefully we are all stitching mostly for the fun of it. We have a Drinking Quilt that we can work on in the pub, because sometimes it is hard to see and too much has been drunk, to work on our art pieces.
A: How do you feel your group has benefitted the people who attend?
PEG: Within the group strong friendships have grown, and there is much love and support. And some great parties. Several of our members have gone through some fucking awful shit during this time, and have found the process and focus of stitching has helped them - as one said, stabbing something millions of times felt really good.
A: You must be inundated with requests to join, are you looking to roll your group out on a larger scale?
PEG: We laughed about the prospect of world domination when we began, but we are a big group with 30 members, and that has taken an awful lot of managing to bring us this far. The point of our group is to have fun. We happened in a very organic way, with no particular plan. A couple of groups have tried to establish, taking their inspiration from us, but have fallen by the wayside. Whitstable is quite a special town and there does seem to be something of the sense of place that has enabled us to grow and be supported and appreciated.
A: Do you have to know how to sew to join the group?
PEG: Not many of the group would have said they could sew when they joined. Thankfully a couple of members joined who knew what the fuck they were doing, otherwise our Quilt of Profanity could have been a disaster when it came to actually joining the individual pieces. We have learnt together, and the stitching skills in the group now are quite amazing, with several of the group members of the Society for Embroidered Work.
A: Do you exhibit your work?
PEG: We have annual exhibitions at the Fishslab Gallery here in Whitstable, and have taken part in the Whitstable Biennale, Margate POW!, and SALT Festival in Folkestone as well as exhibiting at the Undercurrents Gallery in Deptford SE London. Our Gin Bunting is permanently on display at The Twelve Taps gin bar in Whitstable.
You can view more of the work from the Profanity Embroidery Group here.