Threads Textile Festival: at Sunny Bank Mills on 7 – 9 June

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

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 handmade 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.

Alongside the Market and the free exhibition area, a series of textile related talks and workshops is 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 & 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.

Lucy Adlington 1940s

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.

Elnaz Yazdani Workshop

Dr Sarah Gaunt, Threads Textile Festival Director, explained: “After the success of last year’s inaugural Threads Textile Festival we have extended the event to a full 3 days this year. There will be many opportunities to experience textiles in all forms, whether in the market in our iconic 1912 Mill, with over 40 stalls each day or on one of extensive range of workshops designed to appeal to all levels of experience. The talk programme is equally varied and touches on many themes from memory, travel to sexuality. We are very excited to have author, presenter and dress historian Lucy Adlington appear at the Festival on Saturday evening.”

She continued: “You can visit our Museum & Archive which has a temporary exhibition, Weaving Voices, and the Gallery where our exciting textile focussed exhibition Tangled Up continues.

Threads promises to be a weekend overflowing with textile experiences and is an excellent reflection of the textile history of Sunny Bank Mills and its unique and very special setting.”

Sunny Bank Mills, where Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale and Heartbeat were once filmed, is now one of the most exciting and respected cultural and community hubs in the Yorkshire region, and home to more than 100 businesses and artists.

Threads Textile Festival:

Main image: Threads Festival by Joanne Crawford.

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