About Fields Of EveryWhen

Above: This film summarises the project and features the launch event

Below: The artists talking about their approach to the project

Fields of EveryWhen is commissioned by

What is our idea?

To create an abstract map of a social landscape

We have created an artwork in collaboration with the Thamesmead community over a two year period. The work is a statement about this unique place and a time capsule of cultural life in Thamesmead for future generations. The artwork consists of two parts, stories converted into embroidery / drawings and a sculptural hot air balloon displaying those responses. Both elements have a legacy which remains long after the 2 year project. 

The artwork uses textiles and drawings to tell the stories of local people; rather like the Bayeux Tapestry records a period of time pictorially. The balloon is a celebration of social and cultural interaction and recognises local people who define the community; it floats above, and mirrors, the social landscape and acknowledges the  global roots of the people of Thamesmead.  

Fields of EveryWhen’ takes the historic form of a hot air balloon because this was the first method used to look back down at, and photograph, the Thamesmead landscape (see image below). Thamesmead was also heavily protected by barrage balloons during the war due to its proximity to the Royal Arsenal.

Our balloon has been created and ‘decorated’ with the outcomes of community engagement and flown as a tethered artwork unique to Thamesmead. It has a pilot but is designed as a performance rather than to carry passengers.

In addition to community engagement the artists worked with the Royal College of Needlework to offer students a unique opportunity to contribute to Thamesmead’s rich heritage. In all cases the artwork on the balloon is a response to a story by someone who cares deeply about sharing that story. We are very grateful to all those who have taken the time to work with us.


‘G-‘ is the registration letter for British aircraft and ‘FOEW’ is the acronym for the project title Fields of EveryWhen. This is why our sculptural aircraft is called G-FOEW.

Each collected artwork tells a story and represents a field in the landscape of Thamesmead as it first  appeared when the land was drained and cultivated by the monks of Lesnes Abbey. This is an overlaying of modern stories and memories onto the ancient landscape; a new map depicting the community.


In addition to flying the balloon, we can cold inflate it on the ground on its side so that people can walk into it. The embroidery can be photographed with the light shining through. Selfie heaven!
Designing the ‘gores’ of the balloon, these are made of several panels which create the shape of the ‘envelope’ which you see in the images above.

What is the legacy of ‘Fields of EveryWhen’?

The legacy takes many forms and, most significantly, is the ongoing conversation about the aspirations of the Thamesmead community. This is reflected in the physical outcomes of the project as follows:

  1. The balloon exists as an artwork which can be flown at significant events in Thamesmead and beyond. Taking the stories of this location to different parts of the country is an ongoing ambition for the project.
  2. The artworks created by participants (which take the form of sketches, embroidery, stitched illustration and painting) can be viewed at the library in Cygnet Square, Thamesmead as a ‘weighty tome’ (tome is used to refer to a book that is not only really large but also unusually important).
Detail from the Bayeux Tapestry which also uses embroidery to record a moment of social history