‘Recreating’ St Cuthbert’s Community in Textiles at Durham Cathedral

Some of County Durham’s most creative residents, members of the Shadforth Art Group, have produced a selection of textiles to feature in the community galleries at Open Treasure, Durham Cathedral’s new £10.9million exhibition space.

Taking inspiration from different aspects of the Open Treasure exhibits, and put together with the help of Wendy Stoker from ‘MADE In England’, members of Shadforth Art Group have produced a range of textile pieces influenced by the history of Durham Cathedral, the Venerable Bede and St Cuthbert, the local community and even the wildlife of the region.

The pieces, on display in the community galleries of Open Treasure are designed to complement the current temporary exhibition, Textiles: Painting with the Needle, which runs until Saturday 11 February 2017. The exhibition features some of the finest examples of church needlework from the last 1,100 years, including a 12th-century Peacock Silk from St Cuthbert’s tomb.

The contribution of the Shadforth community group comes as part of Durham Cathedral’s ‘Recreating the Community’ initiative, which enables County Durham community groups to work with local artists and craft specialists to create new work inspired by Cuthbert’s journey. After being exhibited the pieces will enter the Cathedral’s collections as a lasting marker of Open Treasure.

Lara Thompson from Shadforth Art Group said: “The opportunity to work with Wendy Stoker on this project, and seeing the finished work on display at the Cathedral, has been interesting and exciting for all of us in the group. The Open Treasure exhibition made us think about how and why St Cuthbert’s coffin came to Durham, from Lindisfarne. The Venerable Bede’s ‘Life of Cuthbert’ talks about Cuthbert’s life, but there are few contemporary sources about Cuthbert’s journey after death.

“The map circle we have produced depicts a possible route, derived from accounts such as that of the 12th century Symeon of Durham. Using pen and ink, as the monks would have done, the journey is represented in textiles. St Cuthbert remains very important to Durham. Without being the final resting place of his coffin, Durham would be a very different place today.”

Access to the Community Gallery is available with Open Treasure admission. Tickets cost £2.50 – £7.50 (under 5s free) available from the Visitor Desk in the Cathedral or in advance from www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/open-treasure

The current exhibition ‘Textiles: Painting with the Needle’, which also features Grayson Perry’s piece Death of a Working Hero, continues until Saturday 11 February, with the community art groups pieces on display for the duration of the exhibition.

Open Treasure’s rolling exhibition programme continues next year with BEASTS!, an exhibition of the weird and wonderful beasts and monsters which have fascinated people from earliest times opening on Monday 20 February, followed by a very special Magna Carta exhibition which opens on Monday 19 June.

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