Farsley mill hosts textiles festival, market and community project

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Threads Festival by Joanne Crawford

Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley is once again opening the doors of its iconic 1912 Mill for the Threads Textile Festival next weekend.

Threads Textile Festival which enjoyed a hugely successful launch last year, will feature a market with over 40 independent businesses and textile makers each day for three days, selling everything from yarn to sewing materials to hand made clothing to soft furnishings and textile art. 

This year there’s an additional free exhibition area at the top of the 1912 Mill, with exhibitors including the Quilters’ Guild, The Northern Society of Costume and Textiles and work by Dutch textile artist Monika Loster. There is also the launch of an exciting community project ‘Spinning Tales’ which invites people to bring along a treasured piece of clothing to be photographed and written about.

Threads runs from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 June 2024. 

Alongside the market and the free exhibition area, a series of textile related talks and workshops are taking place across the mills.

The Sunny Bank Mills Art Gallery, shop and tearoom will also be open where exhibition Tangled Up considers how artists use textiles as a means of exploring personal and political narratives. In the Museum and Archive, temporary exhibition Weaving Voices features work and objects from the artists, creatives and researchers inspired by its Museum & Textile Archive.

The Threads Festival talks programme roams the world covering Japanese Sashiko with Susan Briscoe, Southeast Asian Textiles with Jim Gaffney and Nima Poovaya-Smith, and African Costume and Clothing with Magie Relph. There’s politics with Tangled Up artists Vanessa Marr who uses embroidery as an act of resistance, Sarah-Joy Ford will discuss recent projects that explore the use of quilts to examine and re-imagine historical lesbian domesticities, and Saima Kaur explores the art of storytelling through embroidery.

On Saturday evening, best-selling author, presenter and clothes historian Lucy Adlington will headline the Festival as she traces lost lives, uncovering the stories clothes tell and the memories they hold. She invites the audience to explore garments and textiles from her unique collection spanning three centuries.

Throughout the weekend, there’s an extensive workshop programme with something for everyone whether you are a beginner, somewhere in the middle or at an advanced level. Learn to weave with Agnis Smallwood, embroider with nature with Elnaz Yazdani and get rag rugging with Kim Searle to name just three.

Threads director Dr Sarah Gaunt said: “After the success of last year’s inaugural festival, we have extended the event to three full days this year. There will be many opportunities to experience textiles in all forms, whether in the market in our iconic 1912 Mill, or on one of the extensive range of workshops designed to appeal to all levels of experience.

“The talk programme is equally varied and touches upon many themes, from memory, travel, to sexuality.”

More details on Threads Textile Festival can be found here.

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