30,000 women are estimated to have joined the processions across the UK in June, that marked the 100th anniversary of some women winning the right to vote in 1918. Their continuing political message was disseminated via the many beautiful banners on display. It is no surprise that these women chose sewing as a medium through which to communicate their message and to make social connections. After all cloth, far from being neutral, carries more connotations than any other material. This of course is no new phenomenon: one can find examples as far back as the Bayeux Tapestry. Again and again textiles are chosen as a means of commemorating historic events, making political comment and bringing communities together. It therefore seems logical that to commemorate the world cup – a levelling event that unites the population – the BBC chose an embroidered tapestry for their World Cup campaign.
"What is it about thread that is so appealing? Within contemporary society there is a hunger for sensual experiences that can only be satisfied by handle and texture. We are surrounded by smooth surfaces, from screens to kitchen counters, floors and cars. Clothing is increasingly constructed from a narrow range of nylon and cotton fibre – while appealing to the eye, these leave the hand starved of stimulus. In this issue we celebrate surface in all its forms; from Anni Albers’ textural weaving, Jane and Mary Parminter’s shell gallery, to Liciê Hunsche’s work with the fleece of Karakul sheep. Claudy Jongstra’s spongy felts, Hildur Bjarnadóttir’s delicate sheers, Nicola Kilmartin’s fulled tweeds and the vintage satin and lace Julia Craig fashions into contemporary garments, are all able to satisfy the hand as well as the eye."
Polly Leonard, Founder, Selvedge Magazine