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Threads Through Creation

Threads Through Creation is a large Textile Art Exhibition we visited in Litchfield the first Bank Holiday weekend of the month.

The 12 panels have an estimated eight million stitches stitched with black thread on silk overlayed on a painted backcloth by artist Jacqui Parkinson.

The exhibition is one of the largest textile projects by a single artist, ever. It has taken Jacqui nearly three years, assisted by her assistant Eni. The large textile panels need a large exhibition space and this exhibition is touring selected English cathedrals.

Panel 12 Goodbye To Eden Detail looking up

Each panel starts with an old bedsheet, Jacqui likes the idea of taking the ordinary and making it special and spectacular. She likes the thought that these sheets have seen all kinds of human emotions and that the sorrows and joys are part of her work. They make a large canvas which is first quilted and then painted. Much of the painted background will eventually be obscured, but you will get glimpses of paint between the silk layers. The silk pieces are layered and stitched, often being further cut. I love this raw edge appliqué and the black threads further enhance all the colours and help give continuity to the series. I also liked the added details added to some panels using metallic leather. There are about 200 birds flying on panel 6, and nearly 300 stars made of silvered leather on panel 5. Some panels have gold and silver leaf to further embellish them!

Panel 6 Water and Sky - Splash with Colour!

Panel 5 Universe - Sparkle With Lights! Detail

Each panel is a feast for the eyes and have so much to look at both in the narrative content and artistic details.

The narrative is inspired by the first pages of the bible, and I was interested how the artist explained visually her ideas about God and the universe in particular panel 1, In The Beginning, which has a three part spiral depicting a triune united God and curves of gold leaf depicting energy and glory. The symbolism of the spiral was also chosen as they can have no beginning or end. The spiral is also found in the other panels. The artist has also used a subtle sequence of designs, such as how the panels start with deceptively simple forms, and then become increasingly complex.

Panel 1 In The Beginning

Panel 10 Two Trees, Two Keepers Detail showing spiral

However much I enjoyed the artist’s expression of faith, I don’t think you need to share that to both enjoy and be inspired by this exhibition. It is at Litchfield cathedral until 2nd June and then moves to Leominster and London for the summer. However, not all the venues start with L with Sherbourne and Hexham in the Autumn! However, there is another L in January 2025 where these 12 panels are joined by 18 called Threads Through The Cross and 14 Threads Through Revelation as an exhibit Threads Through The Bible which opens at Liverpool Cathedral.

I particularly liked the way water in its many forms from raindrops, mists, rivers, waterfalls, churning seas and snowflakes were all depicted in Panel 3 God Spoke - Water!

Panel 3 God Spoke - Water!

This exhibition is suitable for all ages as the young can enjoy spotting all the animals and all can enjoy the feast of colours and forms. Those of us who participate in free machine embroidery will be inspired by the stitching too.

If you get to visit this exhibition, or enjoyed viewing this post, please do share your thoughts in the comments.

Can I choose a favourite panel? No! But some did draw me to stay longer and some even made me go back for another look. I am certainly looking forward to visiting them again next year.


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