A dazzling exhibition featuring work from 1000 local young people is now on display across 10 city centre locations, running until 4 February.

Re/thread: A Trail of Giant Sequins is bringing a pop of colour to the cold weeks ahead as 10 windows in Leicester’s city centre will be decorated with giant sequins. Trail-goers are invited to scan a QR code at each of the 10 locations to reveal 10 fun ideas and activities that they can try at home. This interactive trail will provide tips and tricks for future re-using, upcycling, or recycling of textile materials.

Leicester’s textile history is something to be proud of but we must remember that clothes, footwear and household textiles are responsible for water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and landfill.

So, how are Artreach helping the environment through our use of textiles, clothes and fabrics?

They’ve rescued over 1000kg of textiles and fabrics that were due for landfill, to create this magical trail that shares the fabulous creations of over 1000 local children. Before Christmas they supplied schools, community groups and youth groups with the resources to follow, lead artist, Jessica Grady’s incredibly inventive digital workshops, with the final results now on display.

On Saturday 13 January Re/thread took centre stage at a series of events across the city’s cultural venues to launch the fabulous and free trail. However, with fun things to try at home after scanning the trail locations, this activity is sure to be a great way to entertain the children at the start of the year too!

As the excitement builds, Gilliam Kitchener from Button Boutique expressed her enthusiasm, saying, “We’re thrilled to be part of the Re/thread trail; it’s incredible that over 1000 children have contributed to the project. Re/thread is more than just a creative project; it’s an intelligent way to inspire our community on the art of reusing and repurposing old things. It’s a blend of sustainability and creativity, sharing how lots of items have a second life.”

Continuing the journey that began with creative workshops at Art Reach’s Re/action Festival and digital sessions led by lead artist Jessica Grady Re/thread’s interactive trail promises not only vibrant displays but also an educational adventure for all.

Jessica Grady, an award-winning mixed media embroidery artist unwound the story for us, “Schools, community groups and youth clubs have all been following digital workshops I created for them with Art Reach whilst last year at the Re/action Festival we hosted workshops too. These workshops entailed re-using old textiles from around the home and turning them into giant, decorative sequins. We’ve had the absolute pleasure to combine over 1000 children’s work into 10 beautiful window displays across Leicester city centre. I love the fact that people can scan a QR code for a ‘try at home’ activity that teaches them practical textile skills and helps reduce the impact on the environment.”

Elaine Doherty, Head of Programme and Engagement at Art Reach, is delighted with the local business support, “The 10 venues that are hosting the trail have been really supportive of the project and it’s great to have them involved in brightening up the city this January.  The trail winds from LCB depot to the Curve Theatre, through the Central Library, St Martin’s Square, coffee shops, art galleries and many more exciting locations. Not only is Re/thread a great way to learn about sustainability in a creative way, but it also helps bring people into our wonderful city and start the new year in a fun way.”

From January 13 to February 4, 2024, witness the city centre adorned with Giant Sequins, and let the magic of creativity and sustainability unfold. Scan the QR codes, explore the trail, and discover 10 inspiring ideas to weave sustainability into your everyday life.

The project has been funded by Arts Council England, the National Lottery Community fund, and the Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundations.

You can find the Re/thread trail at www.artreach.org.uk and on BID Leicester’s Loyal Free App.