British Textile Biennial – Stitch Your Story


The Stitch Your Story installation in Blackburn Cathedral has begun! For the whole of October you will be able to visit the Cathedral and enjoy an international collection of 118 hand embroideries from 19 countries that express people’s stories of movement and place.

It’s a really wonderful exhibition filled with moving stories (pun intended) as well as sublime stitching and the installation as a whole is a gentle collection of personal narratives that encourage you to spend time in conversation with the creators. If you’re unable to make the installation in real life, you can enjoy the work on the subsite we’ve built here, where you can browse the work by country or simply enjoy all the pieces together and dip into the ones that resonate with you!

Stitch Your Story Installation at Blackburn Cathedral

Whenever you launch a collaborative art project like Stitch Your Story, there’s no way of knowing what the end result will be, which can prove challenging from a project management standpoint, but is also somewhat nerve-wracking to begin with. However, if I’ve learned anything from projects like this, it’s that if you give stitchers a good reason to make something, they will rise to the occasion. And this was precisely what happened this time!


Are You Ready For Adventure?


Stitch Your Story Installation Volunteers at Blackburn Cathedral

I’m deeply grateful to everyone that took time to share their stories and I hope you take time to fully explore the exhibition and enjoy them as much as I have. And I must give massive thanks to the British Textile Biennial team and the group of volunteers who helped me set up the installation!

It’s almost impossible to choose favourites as each piece had it’s own charms and the stories are fascinating, but I thought I’d take a moment to share a small selection of ones that really stood out to me:

Genevieve Gorrell - #stitchyourstory
Genevive Gorrell‘s piece is bursting with fun and character and immediately brought a smile to my face!
Eva Kitok - #stitchyourstory
Eva Kitok‘s piece is arresting in its simplicity but is a perfect representation of the story she tells!
Varvara Reprintseva - #stitchyourstory
Varvara Reprintseva is 7 years old and when Masha, her mum, made a piece, she wanted to take part as well!
Daniel Collings - #stitchyourstory
Daniel Collings is the only manbroiderer in the exhibition and is in New Zealand. The work is edgy and a dramatic contrast to a lot of the other pieces!
Laura Nathan - #stitchyourstory
Laura Nathan‘s story has a connection to my own personal ancestry and her design makes a big impact!

I could pick so many more, but instead I encourage you to take the time to explore the stories yourself and if you enjoy them, the majority of entries have Instagram handles so that you can connect with the creators and share the love.

The exhibition will be in Blackburn Cathedral until the end of October and is part of the British Textile Biennial, a programme of events across Lancashire that are definitely worth a look!

What pieces resonated with you? Comment below!

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Mr X

Jamie Chalmers, aka Mr X Stitch, aka the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery is the founder of the Mr X Stitch site, the world's longest running embroidery blog, the curator of PUSH Stitchery and the author of the Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch. He is also the founder of XStitch, the game-changing cross stitch design magazine which launched in Summer 2017.

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