Threads through Creation Peterborough Cathedral

05th April 2023

An exhibition that tells the creation story in stitches has returned to Peterborough Cathedral as part of its 2023 cathedrals tour.

Textile artist, Jacqui Parkinson will showcase ‘Threads Through Creation‘ – twelve large vibrant panels depicting the Genesis story.

Threads through Creation back at Peterborough Cathedral

Inspired by the first pages in the Bible, the artist starts with vintage bed sheets as a base, quilts them, paints them and then overlays using silk, hand-dyed materials, metallic leathers and gold leaf – and more than eight million stitches!

The panels measure – 1.5m high by 4m wide – and vary in appearance from elemental pieces illustrating the first days to highly complex and rich work as it takes the viewer into the Garden of Eden.

Jacqui explained:

“I start with antique bedsheets, 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 – a feast for the eye!

“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 Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough, said:

‘This is a wonderful and thought-provoking exhibition. Ancient words from the pages of Scripture take on new life and meaning through Jacqui Parkinson’s extraordinary stitching and invite us to recognise the beauty and fragility of creation and our responsibility to care for it today – and for tomorrow.”

The exhibition is open during normal Cathedral opening hours but do check before visiting by checking here.

Threads through Creation and its sister project Threads through Revelation have been seen at several of our cathedrals. The exhibition will leave Peterborough at the end of April for St Albans, then Ely, Rochester, Portsmouth and Wells on its 2023 tour.

Dates have already been announced for 2024 which include Sheffield, Blackburn and Lichfield.

Jacqui is currently working on a new project which will bring together her two previous exhibition pieces into one. Threads through the Cross will be ready in 2025 bringing together all three sequences, Creation, the Cross and Revelation, as one exhibition.

This ten-year project will feature 42 panels stretching more than 8 metres if presented side by side. It will have its premiere at Liverpool Cathedral in January 2025 and 25 million stitches!!

It will tour for two years.

Visit Jacqui’s website here.