Threads through Creation – Ely and Rochester

05th July 2023

Ely Cathedral and Rochester Cathedral are hosting textile artist Jacqui Parkinson’s Threads Through Creation this summer –twelve enormous, embroidered silk panels that explore the story of Creation.

Threads Through Creation at Ely and Rochester Cathedral this Summer.

Inspired by the first pages of the Bible, Jacqui has re-imagined the greatest story ever told in silks, metallic leather and gold leaf – and more than eight million stitches.

Each panel measures as much as 4 metres in width.

Jacqui said:

“I start with antique bed sheets, which hold their own tales of life and death. I gradually build up my stories by quilting the sheets and painting them. Then I add layers of silk, which I stitch into place using a special free-motion sewing machine which allows me to stitch my ‘drawings’. Then I add gold leaf and metallic leathers as finishing touches, overall creating great richness.

‘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,’ she added.

Threads Through Creation at Ely and Rochester Cathedral this Summer.

The Very Reverend Mark Bonney, Dean of Ely Cathedral, said,

‘The Book of Genesis invites us into the wonder of God’s work in creation and helps us better understand our place within it. It’s an ancient story, but highly relevant today, with a message of hope – of God with us – and its call for us to care for our amazing world.”

Threads Through Creation is available at Ely until July 26 when it will then travel to Rochester Cathedral for its summer exhibition.

It can be seen in Rochester from 29 July until 3 September.

Jacqui said:

‘It’s a pleasure to be in Rochester Cathedral, such a wonderful building – where I hope to add a little extra wonder! Creation is a great story: the panels will add a sparkle to everyone’s visit.’

Threads Through Creation at Ely and Rochester Cathedral this Summer.

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 the simple enjoyment of its beauty or for the interesting ideas and spiritual enrichment of its uplifting message.’