One man, one tree tree and a community of stitchers have come together this Christmas to produce a contemporary art showstopper bringing mirth and merriment to the National Trust’s Arts & Crafts house, Standen.
Jamie Chalmers, aka Mr X Stitch, the Kingpin of Contemporary Embroidery, is the designer of this year’s Christmas art installation ‘The Xmas Tree at Standen’. Jamie is one of the world’s most well-known male embroiderers, an internationally exhibited textile artist and curator. His recent exhibition at Standen, the Mr X Stitch Guide to Cross Stitch, showed how this humble craft is alive and kicking and not limited to images of cute kittens and country cottages.
Jamie has been inspiring hundreds of stitchers from the local community and further afield to work together to create Standen’s annual 20 foot designer Christmas tree: “When we launched the Xmas XStitch Bauble project I didn’t know what the response would be, but it’s fair to say that I’m overwhelmed by it. To have received over 500 baubles from an international community of stitchers is truly humbling and I hope that the visitors to Standen will feel the stitchy love that’s been generated by all these wonderful people!”
Jamie has been working with local community groups in East Grinstead creating bold and colourful cross stitch baubles to hang on the tree. Members of local WI’s, Girl Guides, hospital workers and even a vicar have joined fans of cross stitch from across the world in creating beautiful baubles to be included in this festive art installation. Over 500 hand stitched mini works of art are included on the tree. Each one individual and reflecting the character and style of the stitchers themselves.
Isabella Barton joined a cross stitch workshop at St Swithuns, East Grinstead, ‘I love crafting and having seen the past Christmas installations I was determined to get involved and make my mark on part of the history of Standen. It was great fun and I loved working with Mr X Stitch who is now my idol.’
Richard Grudzinski, Visitor Experience Manager for Standen, explains ‘We wanted to invite the community to get involved and create a truly collaborative art installation. The fact that members from the local community and across the world have donated over 7,500 hours of their time creating these mini pieces of art is both amazing and humbling in equal measures. It goes to show that Christmas really is the season of generosity and giving.’
The ‘Xmas tree at Standen’ is on display at Standen House and Garden from Sat 24 Nov 2018 until Sun 6 Jan 2019.
This Christmas the house at Standen will be traditionally decorated in the style of Christmas through the ages, showing how Christmas was celebrated during the different decades that the Beale family were in residence. Visit the house during one of the extended twilight opening evenings to see the house and the Xmas Tree lit up in all their glory. On Twilight openings the property is open until 6pm. These take place on Sat 24 & Sun 25 Nov, Sat 1 & Sun 2 Dec, Sat 8 & Sun 9 Dec, and Sat 15 to Sun 23 Dec.
To find out more visit: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/standen