16 April 2024

Crafter sets out on year-long challenge to support food bank

A cross-stitch crafter has set out on a year-long challenge using her art to capture some of the attractions of her adopted home city and to raise money for a food bank.

Miranda van Rossum began her Hull in Stitches project at the weekend in the city’s Danish Church where she was captivated by a relic from the building’s predecessor which was bombed nearly 70 years ago.

She will continue her work in a variety of locations across the city and is inviting ideas for other interesting venues to take her through to the end of February 2025.

Miranda, who has already raised more than £4,000 from the sponsorship and sale of two previous cross-stitch creations, hopes people and businesses will again give generously to support Hull Food Bank.

Miranda came to Hull nearly 30 years ago from Utrecht in the Netherlands. Originally she planned to stay for a year but she stuck around, got a job at the University of Hull in the Dutch Studies department and became aware of the Danish Church through her visits to the annual Christmas market with colleagues in Scandinavian Studies.

But she did not know about the history until she visited the building to plan her cross-stitch campaign.

Charlotte Theill, manager of the Danish Church, told Miranda how the original building in Hull was bombed during an air raid on May 9, 1941 – the eve of its 70th anniversary.

Its replacement was consecrated in 1954 and will be 70 on May 9 this year. Among the artefacts salvaged from the rubble was a seven-branched candelabra which, after extensive restoration, was able to take its place on the altar again. Also rescued was a small glass rosette which became part of the new church as a feature in a new stained glass window designed by Jutta Becker, wife of a former German pastor. Miranda’s cross-stitch work will focus on the window and the rosette.

Miranda, who now works part-time as a translator, said: “I know the Danish Church well. I didn’t know that this wasn’t the original building but it is still iconic and has a great history. A lot of people will know it without ever having been in.

“When I walked in and saw the window again it jumped out at me as something that is colourful and unique. A nice thing to stitch.”

Miranda completed her first fundraiser in 2014 with a 24-hour “stitch-athon” in aid of the House of Light charity, which offers support and counselling to parents before and after birth.

From June to October 2021 she completed 48,000 stitches to recreate Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, which raised just over £2,000 for Hull Food Bank from sponsorship and the sale of the finished work.

From January 2022 until March 2023 Miranda copied The Four Seasons by Alphonse Mucha and raised about £2,850, again for Hull Food Bank, from a work of 120,000 stitches.

The new project will comprise 100 small cross-stitch pieces which will then be fixed on to a map of Hull. Among the subjects will be Cock of the Walk bespoke tailors, J E Books in Hepworth’s Arcade, Middle Child Theatre and local radio presenter Wolfy O’Hare, with Miranda stitching live in his studio at Hull’s 107FM.

Miranda said: “A hundred pieces in a year is do-able and I’ll arrange them in a nice design on a common or garden map of Hull and have it framed. Each piece will have the name of the place and the date I was there.”

Charlotte said: “This is a fantastic project and we’re thrilled to be involved. I can’t wait to see Miranda’s work from the next 12 months and especially her piece from our building. It’s a wonderful way to help us mark our big anniversary.”

Miranda added: “The big challenge is maintaining the creativity in so many places

over such a long time. There will be a hundred completely unique pieces. I’m starting at the Danish Church but I don’t know where I’ll end up and I’m looking forward to receiving suggestions of other venues.”

Miranda is raising money now for Hull Food Bank at justgiving.com/page/hull-in-stitches. To view her work, visit @mirandamvr on Twitter/X and @mirandamvanrossum on Instagram.