Immortalising Amy Winehouse in Wool and Sequins

By Lisa Bentman
Junior Financial Accountant at British Land

07 Jul 2016

To raise money for mental health charity Mind and help me recuperate after being unwell, I recently knitted a huge portrait of Amy Winehouse. And it’s all for a great cause!

When I experienced depression earlier this year, I vowed to raise money for a mental health charity as soon as I was well enough. The result is a 5ft x 4ft knitted portrait of Amy Winehouse, which I’m raffling off in aid of Mind, with the draw taking place on 23 July 2016, the fifth anniversary of Amy’s death.

I’m glad to report that, with the support of work, friends, family and professionals, I’m fully on the way to recovery. I’m feeling more focused than ever in my work and personal life. I was delighted earlier this week to win one of British Land’s monthly Hats Off staff awards for organising part of the company’s community day and donated my £100 prize to Mind.

My goal now is to try to break the taboo of mental illness, as it continues to be stigmatised. No one chooses to suffer from depression or anxiety. But, if you’re unlucky enough, it chooses you.

I was inspired to share my story by my colleague Paul Macey, who spoke very movingly at our company conference about his experience of coming out as a gay man (more here). We should all feel comfortable to be ourselves in our workplace and at British Land we really are supported in that.

For those interested in the knitting – immortalising Amy Winehouse in wool and sequins took seven weeks, 107,616 stitches and over 5,000 hand-sewn sequins. I knitted the pop icon on six separate panels, which I then sewed together, stretched and mounted onto a box canvas, before embellishing the red background with sequins (that bit on its own took a week!).

There’s still a way to go to reach my £3,000 fundraising target for Mind but I’m feeling hopeful. People have left really positive feedback on my fundraising page and the whole experience has made me feel quite humble. It’s nice to give something back and help other people in similar situations.

Donations for earlier projects also bode well for Project Amy. I’ve previously raised over £2,000 for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres with a knitted Orion Nebula and over £5,000 for charity LandAid with a knitted David Bowie portrait, auctioned at the Victoria and Albert Museum during a British Land function.

For more on the project and my reasons for supporting Mind watch my YouTube video:

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