Creating the world in eight million stitches…

Creating the world in eight million stitches…


From 29th July to 3rd September,  Rochester Cathedral is playing host to ‘Threads through Creation’, a stunning exhibition of twelve enormous, embroidered silk panels that explore the story of Creation.


Inspired by the poetic verses of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, textile artist Jacqui Parkinson re-imagines this wonderful story in a vibrant combination of layers of silk, hand-dyed materials, metallic leathers and gold leaf, miles of thread – and more than eight million stitches!


The panels are huge – 1.5m/8ft high by as much as 4m/13ft wide – and vary in appearance from elemental pieces illustrating the first ‘days’ to highly complex and lush work as we enter the Garden of Eden.


The work is eye-catching and attractive, designed to be accessible for viewers of all ages. Whilst the serious message of God’s good earth and man’s impact on it underlies the entire exhibition, the panels are bold and exuberant, with many delightful quirky details such as both accurate and fanciful creatures embroidered into the stories.


Speaking about how she works, Jacqui said: “I start simply with antique bedsheets, which hold their own tales of life and death. Then I gradually build up my stories by quilting the sheets and painting them. Once that is done, I add layers of silk. I stitch them into place using a free motion sewing machine, that allows me in effect to draw in stitching. I sometimes add gold leaf and metallic leathers as finishing touches, overall creating great richness as a feast for the eye!


Jacqui adds: ‘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.’


Threads through Creation runs at Rochester Cathedral from 29th July to 3rd September.


The Very Reverend Dr Philip Hesketh, Dean of Rochester Cathedral, said,


‘We are delighted to be hosting this astonishing display of textile art. ‘Threads through Creation’ is a wonderful, affirming story of the love of God, expressed in breathtaking colours and designs on an extraordinary scale.  I’m sure that people of all ages and backgrounds will love it, whether for simple enjoyment of its beauty, or for the interesting ideas and spiritual enrichment from its uplifting message.’

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