The October meeting of Textiles and Stitch Around Marlborough welcomed British Artist Kirstie Macleod who spoke about The Red Dress project – a 13 year, award winning global, collaborative embroidery project.
In 2008 Kirstie Macleod was awarded funding for The Red Dress project by the British Council Dubai. The Red Dress began its life being sketched on a napkin. Originally the intention was for it to provide an artistic platform for women around the world to tell their personal stories through embroidery but over the 13 years the project has encouraged self-expression and an opportunity for voices to be heard. To date 353 embroiderers, mainly women, and 7 men from 47 countries have been involved.
Some of the embroideries were commissioned but a lot were done by volunteers. The artisans now receive a percentage of income generated by the charity from sales, exhibitions and talks and Kirstie explained that they would use this money to improve their lives, their homes or to buy animals.
In her presentation Kirstie showed us a wonderful variety of photos of ladies from different countries stitching their embroideries and mentioned her visits to Kosovo, Rwanda, the Congo and Australia. More recently The Red Dress has been to Poland where a group of Ukrainian ladies sang as they stitched and last week Kirstie returned from a visit to Egypt where she worked with Bedouin ladies before a visit to Cairo.
In the future it is planned for The Red Dress to visit all the countries involved with the project and this could possibly take about 10 years. After that Kirstie hoped it would be displayed in a museum.
The next meeting of Textiles and Stitch Around Marlborough will be on Monday 7 November at the Kennet Valley Hall, Lockeridge. The speaker will be Sheila Davies and her talk will be entitled “Aunties”. Doors open at 13.30 for a 14.00 start.
Click here for The Red Dress website.