Leicester’s city centre will welcome the New Year with colour as Re/thread: A Trail of Giant Sequins, will adorn 10 windows with dazzling giant sequins crafted by children and young people from across Leicester. From 13 January to 4 February people of all ages can follow the trail and collect fun ideas and activities that will inspire trail-goers to repurpose household textiles creatively and sustainably.
Re/thread shines a light on the environmental impact of textiles, encouraging more people to consider exploring circular fashion, re-using and recycling to reduce water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and landfill waste. Leicester boasts a proud textile history, and Re/thread looks at creative ways that this heritage can be celebrated in a sustainable way.
Darcy Kitchener, our Creative Producer, explains how Re/thread emphasises the project’s dual purpose: “Thanks to donations from Shibori Masters Dye and Wash House, Net Good City and Tracy Ward Textiles, we’re not just creating art; we’re fostering new ways to consume. Re/thread is a call to action, encouraging everyone to rethink their relationship with textiles and embrace sustainability. Also, thanks to support from BID Leicester people can use the LoyalFree App to check in at each location and get valuable insights into reducing textile impacts on the environment as they discover the sequins along the trail.”
In a ground-breaking effort, Re/thread has rescued over 1000 kilograms of textiles and fabrics destined for landfills, fashioning them into a joyful trail that displays the imaginative creations of over 1000 local children. Schools, community groups, and youth organisations have been participating in digital workshops led by Jessica Grady, a textile artist whose work is entrenched in environmentally friendly practice, to create the giant sequins.
As Paul Steele, Creative Director commented “This summer we launched the first ever Re/action Festival in Leicester which explores Creativity for the Climate. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation, we were able to extend some of the workshops we held at the festival into a longer-term project. It’s great to introduce young people to these themes at festivals but a more detailed engagement project with a fabulous output such as an interactive trail with an app, can be really rewarding for the participants to be a part of.”
The sequins inspired by Jessica Grady’s workshops will be combined into mesmerising installations by the artist across ten city centre locations. Accompanying the installations will be some additional graphic designs by student, Isabel Quinn. Isabel was selected as the winning design from the De Montfort University Graphic Design (Illustration) student entries and now this talented young designer’s work will help tie the trail together for people to enjoy!
Moving Together Community Dance Company delivered the workshop activity with some of their Primary and SEND school cohorts. Emily Jackson, Director of Moving Together, shares her experience: “Being part of Re/thread has been about more than art; it’s a statement. The young people have transformed waste into a vibrant display, and I’m thrilled to see their creations light up the city.”
From January 13 to February 4, 2024, 10 windows in Leicester’s city centre will be adorned with Giant Sequins, forming an interactive trail. Visitors can learn valuable tips and tricks for reusing, upcycling, or recycling textile materials, contributing to a more sustainable future.
Chris Slowe, Creative Programme Coordinator at LCB Depot, one of the 10 venues in the trail told us, “We’re really excited to be part of Re/thread, we’re looking forward to being woven together with all the other venues, as well as launching the Re/thread Trail at our monthly creative family day, as part of Cultural Quarter Earlies.”
Participants, their families and the public are invited to the launch of Re/thread: A Trail of Giant Sequins during an opening day of events on 13 January. Events will be held at Cultural Quarter Earlies hosted by LCB Depot, Leicester Gallery at De Montfort University, Leicester Central Library and other venues. The weekend promises a host of tasty textile workshops and activities for all to enjoy.
You can find the Re/thread trail here and on BID Leicester’s Loyal Free App.