Kirstie Macleod, an artist from Somerset started The Red Dress Embroidery project with the hope of helping marginalised women tell their stories through embroidery. After 12 years in the making, the dress has become so much more. It will be on exhibition in Glastonbury for 3 days only in December.
Pieces of the dress were sent to 28 countries where 244 people embroidered an image onto the fabric. Each image on the dress represented themselves and their culture. The project has taken 12 years to complete and now the dress is on tour.
Embroiderers include women refugees from Palestine; victims of war in Kosovo, Rwanda, and DR Congo; impoverished women in South Africa, Mexico, and Egypt; women in Kenya, Japan, Paris, Sweden, Peru, Czech Republic, Dubai, Afghanistan, Australia, Argentina, Switzerland, Canada, Tobago, USA, Russia, Pakistan, Wales, Colombia, and the UK, as well as upmarket embroidery studios in India and Saudi Arabia.
What began as a way of generating a dialogue of identity through embroidery has grown into a platform for self-expression. Some of the women involved are now rebuilding their lives with the help of embroidery. Over 12 years the project has become a place for women to have a voice to tell their personal stories.
The Red Dress’s 12-year creation journey around the world is now completed, with the dress assembled in its final configuration. Covered in millions of stitches, the 6.2 kg. silk Red Dress is weighted as much by the individual stories and collective voices waiting to be heard as by the threads and beads that adorn it.
The Red Dress has been exhibited in various galleries and museums worldwide, including Gallery Maeght in Paris, Art Dubai, Museo Des Arte Popular in Mexico City, the National Library of Kosovo, an event at the Royal Academy in London, and the Premio Valcellina Textiles award in Maniago, Italy where it won first prize in 2015.
It will also be on display from the 8th to the 29th of January 2022 at the ACE Arts, Somerton, Somerset.
Then it heads off to Pakistan in February, Back to Wales in March and then to London in April, and then off to Egypt in September. Italy in October. Birmingham in October. Columbia in November. April in Vermont, USA. September in Pittsburgh. January 2024 in Vancouver. June 2024 South Africa And October 2025 Australia.
And did you know that the stunning model wearing the red dress is our friend Natasha? Those of you who know her also know her as our model for the Middlewick Mural on the Glastonbury Mural Trail. But here, we know her as our wonderful jolly window cleaner who comes here once a month with her family business to clean the Middlewick windows. We Love Natasha.