Threads through Creation exhibition

Threads through Creation exhibition

Creating the world in eight million stitches 

17 October – 27 November 2023

From 18 October to 27 November 2023, Wells Cathedral is playing host to ‘Threads through Creation’, a stunning exhibition of twelve enormous, embroidered silk panels that explore the story of Creation.

About the Exhibition

Inspired by the poetic verses of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, textile artist Jacqui Parkinson reimagines 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.”

The Venerable Anne Gell, Acting Dean of Wells Cathedral, said:

“If you open the bible, you’ll find that the very first pages, in the book of Genesis, invite us into the wonder of God’s work in creation. Here’s marvellous poetry, an amazing story, excitement, and above all, love. Written millennia ago, but highly relevant today, a message of hope — of God with us — and for us to care for our wonderful world.”

“When you visit Wells Cathedral, you’ll be able to see Jacqui Parkinson’s extraordinary re-telling. It’s a carefully crafted visual statement of the creation story. You’ll see astonishing colours and spectacular designs; you’ll find interest, enjoyment, and spiritual insights in her work. I’m sure people of all ages and backgrounds will enjoy sharing in Jacqui’s energy, creativity, and passion.”

Threads through Creation runs at Wells Cathedral from 18 October to 27 November. Admission is included with entry to the Cathedral.

On some days the panels may need to be moved to allow for other events that are due to take place in the Nave, but we are aiming for them to still be on display in the Transepts on these days.


Family Holiday Activities

Look out for our creative workshops for children inspired by the stunning exhibition, and pick up a free family trail leaflet to explore the kaleidoscope  of colours, shapes, patterns – and of course many, many different creatures!

Felted Worlds Monday 23 October*
Make a mini felted Earth to hang at home, complete with your message for a better world.

Spectacular Spirals Tuesday 24 October*
Take inspiration from spirals in the exhibition and in nature. Try circular weaving or create a snazzy snake mobile.

Fabric Creations Wednesday 25 October*
Stitch a mini textile panel or use fabric and glue to create a colourful creature collage.

*Sessions at 10.00 a.m., 11.15 a.m., and 2.00 p.m.

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