Monday, 28 October 2013

Darn it! Sacred Stitches is sew worth seeing!

If you are anywhere in downtown Toronto this week, it's definitely worth popping over to St. James Anglican Cathedral to see Sacred Stitches: Beauty and Holiness in the Needlework of Many Faiths. The show celebrates the Ecclesiastical Needleworkers' centenary and features over 100 works of embroidery and textile art.

Sacred Stitches is installed in St. James Anglican Cathedral.  The image on the poster (above) comes from the stained glass window on the left of this photo, illustrating the renewal of culture in England during the 9th and 10th centuries following the Viking invasions.

This multi-faith exhibit includes pieces by contemporary artists, cherished family heirlooms, and gorgeous banners, vestments and tapestries created by stitchery guilds.

ARCAT was thrilled to participate in the exhibit.  We loaned a fiddleback chasuble and dalmatic, funeral vestments and a pair of ceremonial gloves.

The dalmatic (the liturgical vestment worn by deacons) from ARCAT's collection features painted velvet flowers which have been stitched to the silk.  Originally from St. Margaret's Parish in Midland. Transferred to ARCAT for preservation after a fire at the parish in 1986.

The pieces have been installed all along the side aisles of the church and in front of the sanctuary. The exhibit is supervised twelve hours a day (even during services) by a large group of dedicated volunteers. Archivist and museum curator Nancy Mallett and her team have spent months coordinating and promoting this show. Their very impressive efforts were rewarded with over 400 visitors on opening day.

The exhibit runs until Friday, November 1st, from 7 am to 7 pm.  Free admission; donations welcome.

A nuptial chuppah (canopy used during Jewish marriage ceremonies); funeral pall (stitched by the Cariboo Group of women at Grace Church-on-the-Hill) and a new cope (created in Ukraine for Christ the Saviour Russian Orthodox Cathedral).

In front of the baptistry are displayed textiles used in infantile initiation rites. To the right is a traditional “elder’s outfit” to wear to a wedding in China.

A personal favourite.
Chasuble with embroidery that picks up the brocade pattern on the fabric.
From St. Thomas Anglican Church, Toronto.

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