Image: Sandi Leibovici; “Galaxy”; Design courtesy of Ann Logan; image courtesy of Torah Stitch by Stitch.
What started as a community project "that might attract a few participants" is on its way to creating one of the largest tapestries in the world.
Textile artist Temma Gentles was in residence at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto when she started Torah Stitch by Stitch, a group project to cross stitch verses from the bible. Six years later, the group has grown to a global community of 1,500 volunteers of multiple faiths, from 28 countries – and counting.
Part of the group’s output – about 150 feet of tapestry – is now on show at The Textile Museum of Canada. The exhibition features the books of Genesis, Exodus, and the last half of Deuteronomy. Included alongside the completed books are embroidered selections from the New Testament and the Qur’an that reflect on the theme of creation in the texts’ respective original languages, placing the Torah in dialogue with the other Abrahamic faiths.
Rona Kosansky; Design courtesy of Ann Logan; image courtesy of Torah Stitch by Stitch.
Visitors to the Textile Museum will journey through over 900 cross-stitched panels in three languages (Hebrew, Greek, and Arabic). The sections of verse are complemented by illuminations and embellishments created by many stitchers, both novice and expert, some religious, some secular. Their interpretation of these ancient narratives creates contemplative, contemporary expressions through word and image.
Temma expects the project to be completed in 2021: “We intend to assemble all five books of Torah and to travel the installation to museums and cultural centres, first in North America, and then internationally, reaching many audiences who have no idea that the words and ideas of this magnificent text underpin, not just three religions, but the literature and culture of the western world.”
Linda Morganstein; Image courtesy of Torah Stitch by Stitch.
Tapestry of Spirit: The Torah Stitch by Stitch Project at Textile Museum of Canada, until 17 November. For more information about the project, visit Torah Stitch by Stitch
Blog post by Kate Grinnell