craft handmade Photography + Art + Design

Let’s Talk About ‘Fine Cell Work’?

November 15, 2018
Fine Cell Work

On my travels around the internet looking at tea cosy inspiration for the #CosyCraftALong, I found out about a brilliant initiative called Fine Cell Work.

Fine Cell Work boasts Europe’s largest workforce of hand-stitchers – in the form of inmates from 32 British prisons. The program’s volunteers train prisoners in needlework and other textile/fibre crafts.  The things they make are then sold via the initiative’s website.

The ace bunch behind this program say it not only provides prisoners with something creative to focus and an income, but also fosters “hope, discipline and self esteem” and further support when they are released.

“The first piece I completed was six small butterflies,” one of the Fine Work Cell bunch wrote in a letter to his crafty tutors, “and I had a feeling that I had not felt in a long time – pride. I was proud that I had achieved and learned something new. This feeling was repeated again when I received a photograph of my work with the word ‘excellent’ written on the back. Receiving feedback is rewarding to me, it makes me feel human.”

“Having the opportunity to work independently helps [prisoners] to regain control of their lives and allows them to maintain dignity,” Fine Cell Work says on their website.

They “gain a sense of connection to the world outside prison through the sale of their work, which you can buy through our shop. It also helps them establish a work ethic, and allows them to send money to their families or save for their release.”

I am totally into a whole bunch of things made by the Fine Cell Work crafters. For instance …

This quilt

Fine Cell Work

This cushion

Fine Cell Work

This tea cosy

Fine Cell Work

There are a whole lot of other pieces too, crafted in collaboration with designers like Cath Kidston and Emily Peacock.

So I thought you might like to know about that!

You can read stories about the impact of this program, written by prisoners themselves here, snap something up in their shop or simply make a donation to help this brilliant effort along here.

x Pip


  • Reply Chloe November 21, 2018 at 9:11 PM

    I’ve seen their work in a couple of exhibitions. The work is amazing, but the stories of how the prisoners feel carrying out the crafting and the difference it made to them are extraordinary.

  • Reply amanda November 16, 2018 at 6:08 AM

    brilliant! thanks for the tip

  • Leave a Reply