Worcester Stitch and Textile Art Group Worcester Stitch and Textile Art Group

Monthly meetings

Other meetings:

The Red Dress, Kirstie Macleod

28 March 2023

What an amazing afternoon for the audience of over 150 people who attended yesterday’s display of the Red Dress and talk by creator Kirstie Macleod. Threads’ members were given complimentary tickets to the event while family, friends and visitors helped to fill the church to almost capacity.

Having viewed the dress displayed on the stage against a white backdrop, we took photos from almost every angle, trying to incorporate as many of the colourful, intricate and meaningful contributions from the over 374 artisans. Kirstie gave her introduction, sharing experiences of her own background, countries she lived in and family traits she believed may have influenced her direction of career.  She explained the transformation of The Dress, from its earliest beginnings to the growth and metamorphosis it undertook over the last 14 years.  A short film followed, allowing us the opportunity to see homes and environments of some of the contributors, some lucky enough to wear The Dress and celebrate being part of the project.

Kirstie then explained in much more detail how The Dress became a symbol of connectivity and empowerment of women throughout the world.   The works show a dialogue of diverse cultures, pictures and symbols of women’s identities, at times displaying feelings of inequality, prejudice and oppression.  The beauty, skill, dedication and celebration of each contribution is powerful; they are conversations between artisans who may never actually meet but have all formed a dialogue within the piece.

The afternoon was finished with many questions including “what next?” for The Red Dress.  Kirstie ended saying that the dress will be finished by June this year and will continue to tour, alongside additional artwork by some of the artisans (encouraging a platform for their own commercial development).  Plans are being made for Kirstie to write a book and complete a film while eventually creating a gallery/museum housing The Dress, making it as accessible as possible to all.

The audience being all women (plus one brave gentleman assisting us) left saying how empowering The Dress, presentation and Kirstie had been. Kirstie’s quote that “the overall purpose of the dress was to take the focus away from it being an art piece to something bringing attention to the artisans making it” was a powerful thought to leave with.