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The Blood Bag Project

The Blood Bag Project is something we have been working on with our Year 6 children because it links nicely with the work they cover in the Science National Curriculum on blood and circulation and it also helps to develop an awareness and empathy for children who have a range of disabling conditions. Textile artist Leigh Bowser has been working on creating textile blood bags for many years, primarily to raise awareness of the rare blood disease: Diamond Blackfan Anaemia but also to help raise awareness of the importance of blood donation.


The children were very excited and engaged from the start. We introduced the children to Diamond Blackfan Anaemia and to Leigh’s young niece, who at the same age as our Year 6 children, has already received over 100 blood transfusions and a bone marrow transplant. It was explained to the children that the textile project was created to raise awareness of the importance of being a donor, whether that be for blood or bone marrow and how this can significantly help people in need.


We began by discussing what is meant by the word ‘textiles’ and why this is relevant to our locality. We looked at a range of textile Blood Bags that artists all over the world have created and donated to be part of Leigh’s project. Our children were shown photographs and tangible examples to spark their own creative journey. The children were eager to explore, learn and create. A template was given to each child and they were then given the time and a range of media to create a design for their textile piece. All children were encouraged to be individual and unique in their thinking, designing and the message they wanted to portray.

To allow the children as much creative freedom as possible, they had access to a large pile of fabrics, different yarns and many items that the children could use to embellish and stuff their textile piece with. Some of our children thought that the transparent nature of the bags worked well to replicate a blood bag, whilst others wanted to use opaque fabric to give their bag a softer more comfortable feel.


The children were both learning new skills and recalling their previous knowledge of textile related practice. Many children created and added a chord to their bag through finger knitting with different yarns. It was lovely to see the children independently putting their skills to good use. This included making and using a template, sewing on buttons, attaching ribbon and many more textile related techniques. There was a real community feel with lots of children supporting and helping each other: threading needles, helping with decision making and generally discussing the reasoning behind taking part in the project and what it means to them.


The final range of designs are absolutely amazing! Each child invested a great amount of thought into their textile piece and worked hard to produce a blood bag that was unique. These are now part of a large display which is a real talking point within school.