Creating the world in eight million stitches… | Salisbury Cathedral

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Creating the world in eight million stitches…

Twelve spectacular textile panels tell the compelling story of creation

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Creating the world in eight million stitches…

Posted By : Katie Clark Wednesday 7th July 2021

On 17 August Salisbury Cathedral launches Threads through Creation, a stunning exhibition of twelve enormous embroidered panels that explore the story of the Creation.

Inspired by the poetic verses of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, textile artist Jacqui Parkinson reimagines this ancient story in a vibrant combination of eight million stitches, layers of silk, hand-dyed materials, metallic leathers and gold leaf.

The panels, some as large as 2.5m by 3m/8ft by 11ft, vary in appearance from elemental pieces illustrating the first days to more complex and lush work as we enter the Garden of Eden. 

Jacqui Parkinson’s work is always eye-catching and attractive, designed to be accessible for viewers of all ages. Whilst the serious context of God’s good earth and man’s impact on it underlies the entire exhibition, the embroidery itself is bold and exuberant and full of quirky details such as the creatures that are embroidered into the stories. One panel, for example, depicts a dog trying to talk to a monkey.

Speaking about the show and how her work was created, artist Jacqui Parkinson said: 

 “I start simply with antique bedsheets, which hold their own tales of life and death. Then gradually build up my stories by quilting the sheets and painting them with fabric dyes. Once that is done, I add layers of silk, which I stitch into place using thick black thread and a free motion sewing machine. This allows me to construct my ‘drawings’ line upon line."

“My aim is to capture the wonderful extravagance of the Creation story and to delight people who view it. Despite Adam and Eve’s fall from grace, it remains a story of love and promise, something we can all do with these days."

Canon Robert Titley, Chair of Salisbury Cathedral’s Arts Advisory group said:

 "The exhibition is in place during Creationtide, when we celebrate God as creator and sustainer of all life and reflect in worship and prayer on our responsibilities towards the environment. It is a time when we acknowledge both the wonder of this earth and the fact that all is not well in the Garden of Eden. Jacqui’s panels reflect that challenge and share that hope."

Threads through Creation runs from 17 August to 26 September, just ahead of the COP26 global climate change summit being held in Glasgow – and follows the announcement that Salisbury Cathedral is the first English Cathedral to receive the A Rocha UK Eco Church Gold Award. Creationtide, including the Harvest Festival, is celebrated at the Cathedral from 1 September to 4 October.

Download the supporting family trail for this exhibition  here.

Prebook your tickets to guarantee entry at your time of choice here.