Bishop of Bradford to open art display celebrating Palestinian textile crafts

A Haworth based textile artist will stage a five-day exhibition of her work in the village’s Old School Rooms.

Deborah Mullins’s exhibition, which starts on June 6, ‘A key to the heart’, will be opened by Bishop Toby Howarth on June 5.

Deborah has been inspired by the ‘Tahriri’ stitching on wedding dresses she saw in the Holy Land town of Bethlehem.

She has developed her interpretation of these stitching and patterns to produce pieces that celebrate their source and take the work in new directions.

They are included in a collection of pieces exploring and interpreting the stitching as well as the history and architecture of Palestine.

Deborah said: “I hope the works help the viewer to identify with Palestine, its people, their culture, their history, their present and, dare I say it, their future.

“If that identification leads to greater empathy, solidarity and intellectual involvement I’ll be content.”

She first made contact with Palestinian culture on a sabbatical in Israel and Palestine in 2013 with her husband, rector of Haworth the Reverend Peter Mullins.

She added: “Nearly a year later I undertook a City & Guilds course in creative textiles. It gave me a whole new lease of life, having spent much of the previous year undergoing treatments for breast cancer.”

The quality of Deborah’s work led to her being awarded the City & Guilds Medal for Excellence. She was then awarded a prize by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, which entailed a trip to St James’ Palace to be presented with the award by the Princess Royal.

Deborah said: “I knew I wanted to create a collection to be exhibited to mark 70 years since the ‘Nakba’ – the term the Palestinians use, meaning ‘catastrophe’, to define the expulsion from their homes and villages when Israel was founded.

“This work contains a series based on the ‘Key of Return’, the symbol of the desire to return to the homes they lost, but also a series celebrating the beautiful Bethlehem wedding dresses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”

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