Thread Counts

Thread Counts is the major art exhibition at Redcar Palace for Summer Season 2023, starting on the 4th August and running until the 28th October. It celebrates the personal acts of creativity through which we can all disrupt the cycle of wastefulness that typifies the fast fashion industry. Through fashion design, photography, film, crochet, embroidery and never before seen archival material visitors to Thread Counts will be able to experience the joys of making and of individual expression and to have a go themselves through regular drop in textile themed crafting sessions.

Thread Counts also marks the launch of a major new commission by Redcar Palace in partnership with Borderlands Creative People and Places. The Teesside Community Rag Rug commission builds upon an evocative element of North East heritage – the tradition of turning old clothes and scraps of fabric into colourful, cosy and often extremely intricate rag rugs that would take pride of place by the hearth. We will be creating a brand new rag rug that will be designed and made by visitors and members of the community from across South Tees and visitors will have the opportunity to learn and share rag rug making skills through a series of masterclasses and free drop in sessions over the course of the summer.

Internationally acclaimed photographer Casey Orr returns to Redcar Palace in collaboration with Middlesbrough based painter and sculptor John James Perangie (JJ). Together they have created a new collection of garments and photographic portraits. Over the course of the exhibition, JJ will be creating new garments for the exhibition which visitors will be able to model and have their portrait taken by Casey at special events in September. Portraits from this collection will also feature in Casey’s major solo exhibition at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool in 2024.

Thread Counts also offers an opportunity for visitors to explore design archives by two artists from the region. Margaret Dawson (1915- -2006) was born and raised in Middlesbrough and whilst accepted into the Royal College of Art in the 1950s she turned down her place in order to raise a family, going on to teach fashion design at a local art college. The beautifully illustrated teaching aids depicting fashion across the ages will be presented alongside examples of her dress design and millinery. Numi Solomons, known as Ritzy Knitz, designed and made cutting edge knitwear from the 1970s-1990s, selling her work in Taiwan, Japan, New York, MIlan, London and Paris and being featured in Harpers and Vogue magazines. Now based near Whitby her archive of drawings and fabric samples from this period have recently been re-discovered and art being shown to the public for the first time.

Featured artists include: 

Aphra O’Connor; Beatrice Mackintosh; Beth Smith; Britney Fraser; Casey Orr; Charles O’Connor; J J Perangie; Katie Crowe; Lu Mason; Margaret Dawson; Nancy Stubbs; Numi Solomons