British Textile Biennial 2023


'Entwined Lives'

We were excited to be a part of this year's BTB 2023!

Through the month of October 2023 we held various different sessions connected to the British Textile Biennial.

On the final two days of the festival we held FREE drop-in workshops where we created twine using garments that people no longer use. Participants brought along fabric that holds memories for them, sat with us, had a brew and shared with others the memories that it holds.

The twine we made was then used to create a collaborative wall hanging using a peg loom to celebrate and hold those memories and stories of our community as you can see below.

The finished piece entitled Entwined Lives was exhibited here at The Bureau, alongside photos of participants and a record of their memories!

Find out more about this the British Textile Biennial and see what else is on by heading over to their website!


Local poet and friend of The Bureau, Janey Colbourne, exhibited  some of her embroidery work as part of 'Entwined Lives' over the weekend.

Janey is a writer, group facilitator and embroidery hobbyist. She was the curator and host of Rise Spoken Word at The Bureau, has been a volunteer for Art SPACE and is a member of our Create and Chat women’s group. Janey has multiple disabilities, including Long COVID, and embroidery is her life-affirming creative outlet; a means to thrive and find freedom within limitations.


My embroidery journey began when Cath Ford of The Bureau asked me to collaborate with her for International Women’s Day 2021 by writing some words to add to her artwork. I began researching ideas. I thought about how women I admire lead not from the top, but from the centre, building a web, a patchwork quilt of unity in diversity. Thinking about how the language of textiles can be a metaphor for life (tying up loose ends, coming apart at the seams, spinning a yarn etc) I researched quilting and came across Redwork, an embroidery technique of drawing pictures with a series of joined stitches in a single red colour, developed in the 19th Century when the first colourfast thread 'Turkish Red' became available.

This was the start of her embroidery journey, and she will be exhibited some of her Redwork pieces, alongside this stunning piece 'Stitching Myself Back Together' in the exhibition.

‘Stitching Myself Back Together’ has a lot of personal significance for me. Whilst working on it I found out that this particular view no longer exists. The trees have all been cut down, possibly for disease management. I felt there was a symmetry between my experience, being devastated by covid, and the woods being sick and cut down. I felt a sense of poignancy in re-creating a place that has been destroyed, but it was also empowering and life-affirming. From each of life’s challenges, I pick out seeds and create something new. When trees are cut down, new life grows. Together we will grow, stronger than ever.'