British Textile Biennial: Stitch Your Story


Mr X Stitch and the British Textile Biennial have launched a collaborative art project and you are cordially invited to take part! Here’s the official blurb!

Annie Salmon’s Submission representing Dorset, Yorkshire & London

In 2021, British Textile Biennial turns its attention to the global nature of textiles and the relationships they create, both historically and now. As part of this year’s biennial we are inviting people across the country and hopefully the globe to share their own story of migration and belonging in a crowdsourced collection of stitched hoops curated by Jamie “Mr X Stitch” Chalmers featuring people’s journeys and reflections on their personal heritage.

Using a 6” hoop, stitchers are encouraged to share the stories of how they ended up where they are now. Whether this journey be across continents or down the street, in a literal depiction or an abstract impression, we invite you to share in stitch what your place and community means to you now.

Stitchers will be given free rein to express themselves within their hoops, but the outcome will be to share their personal story in stitch with the Textile Biennial audience, with the installation hung in a mass installation as part of the Biennial programme.

The collection of pieces will be hung using ceiling suspension and fishing wire to create an installation that visitors can walk through and explore to create a moving exhibition (quite literally as the air movement in the space will cause the hoops to sway) that people can discover and come to learn not only about the places that are represented, but also the global community of stitchers that have participated.

How to submit work:

Please send your work to Jamie Chalmers (Mr X Stitch) at 55 Broughton Lane, Wistaston, Crewe, Cheshire. CW2 8JR. by Friday 27th August.

To be included work needs to fit in 6”embroidery hoop . We will mount all the work in hoops on arrival so you don’t need to send in the hoop! Please include your name, email address, region or country and postcode along with your stitched work – If you want to tell us about the place you live that can be added to the digital version of the installation that will be running online for the duration of the Biennial.

Small print: Where possible pieces submitted will be included in a digital archive that will accompany the physical exhibition. We shall not accept submissions from / or exhibit pieces that are discriminatory in accordance with the Equality Act 2010

Okay, that was a lot to take in, so I’m going to break it down a bit.

  • You can stitch a representation of your place, be that physical or cultural, using whatever techniques you like, as long as it will fit within the constraint of a six inch hoop.
  • You can leave the reverse of the work unfinished or you can cover it – whatever makes you comfortable.
  • Similarly you can finish the edges, but we’ll be placing it in a different hoop, so don’t get too ornate in that respect.
  • You don’t need to send it with a hoop, we’ll find a way of classifying the work by location (don’t really know how that’s going to pan out until we know what we’ve got, but it might be by continent, or something similar).
  • You are welcome to add a narrative note with the piece, as this can be included in the digital archive.
  • It’s not feasible to return international work, but if you are in the UK and you would like the piece back afterwards, please include a stamped, addressed envelope.
  • If you are sending from overseas, when it comes to customs, please state that the piece is a gift with a value of under £20. This ought to help us avoid import charges!
  • Please send your name, your location and anything else you’d like to share – we also accept local sweet treats! – and we’ll include those in the digital archive.
  • Be aware of that deadline at the end of August – submissions after that date are unlikely to be included.

I hope you’ll take part – it will be amazing to build an installation that people can walk through, with hundreds of textile art hoops for them to enjoy, as a physical representation of the world of embroidery.
If you have any other questions, don’t be afraid to get in touch, as I’m building an FAQ collection so by answering you, I’ll be helping other people in the future!

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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