The Red Dress comes to the Dove

The Red Dress came to Dove Arts this weekend. In the words of Kirstie Macleod, whose brainchild it is: “A decade long global EMBROIDERY project centred around a red silk dress ….a vehicle of expression, unity, healing & empowerment.”

Kirstie Macleod setting up the Red Dress in the Dove Print Room

Now, 10 women were invited to add motifs to the work, stitching straight onto the dress in the main.We had invited artisans – from a variety of different backgrounds, age, skills and experiences – BUT all living in Somerset and with a passion for creating and expressing (not everyone having formally embroidered before). Thus far, some 130 artisans from around the world have contributed their stories to this dress, sending in their separate, commissioned panels, to be sewn into the dress by Kirstie. The difference, at the Dove, was that nearly everyone was stitching straight onto the dress. A truly communal experience, rather like being on a slightly wayward rowing boat, with the dress moving this way and that.


Here, some of us are being videoed by Holly and Jo from Barkback films in Bristol. This is an important part of the next stage of the project: to exhibit the work, together with an explanatory film. First stop, Bristol, for International Women’s day in March, followed by the Museo des Artes Popular in Mexico City. And onward from there is the plan. But first there was some stitching to be done at the Dove.

Two days of exhilarating enthusiasm and total focus, resulting in these pieces:

Such an amazing project, linking us to so many amazing people and stories round the world. Huge thanks and congratulations to you, Kirstie!

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