Threads Through Time – Women’s Royal Naval Service

3rd February 2023

Recently we received an email from Jane Cotty, the Communications Manager at the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy, letting us know about an exciting project they are currently exhibiting.

Over the past two years Jane has been involved in the creation of a spectacular quilt measuring 2.5m x 2.5m (8ft x 8ft) and consisting of 49 squares, by a group of all-female retired or currently serving naval personnel based in New Zealand.

12 Wrens (Women’s Royal Naval Service) set out to repurpose their old naval uniform fabrics, braid, buttons and badges and create their own individual quilt squares to symbolise their time in the Navy.

Ranging in age from 30s through to 80s, the naval quilters collectively represent an incredible 60+ years of service.

With a diverse collection of naval roles and duties in the mix including cooks, medical attendants, writers, communication officers and more, each square tells a unique story of an individual’s experience of serving. 

One quilter, Krishna Buckman, dedicated her square to the history of her family, fondly recalling the fascination she felt hearing her Mum’s stories about her own time in service.

The finished quilt is now installed at the Navy Museum in Devonport, Auckland as part of the ‘Threads Through Time’ exhibition. The talented team behind this creation are further sharing their passion for both stitching and serving their community by offering free workshops including ‘Stitch with a Sailor’ where members of the public create a felt square that, once finished, is hung in the gallery as part of the exhibition.

The Wrens hope this project can help those without Naval experience gain an insight into the beautiful camaraderie and friendship they so fiercely experienced throughout their time in service.

Similarly, we hope that their shared love of stitching continues to strengthen their relationships for many years to come as well!

To learn more about this fabulous project and the ‘Threads Through Time’ exhibition, check out the Navy Museum’s website HERE and be sure to watch the video they produced about the creation of the quilt HERE.

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