Embroidery has long been viewed as a symbol of female powerlessness in a man's world. Traditional samplers, with the pat moral sentiments of meekness and docility, are a woven record of what it was like to be a woman in the 17th and 18th centuries. In my work, I aim to continue that narrative, but through the prism of a 21st century lens. Instead of a subject matter like religion, domesticity and morality, my stitched samplers explore the preoccupations of the last decade (the "Noughties"): things like Botox, plastic surgery, "It" bags and the recession.
I have always been fascinated with embroidery; my mother and grandmother were huge stitchers. What never appealed to me, however, was following a pattern. I wanted to sew my own life, my own obsessions and my own truths. I taught myself traditional methods of embroidery and then used them as the medium to bring my thoughts kicking and screaming to life.
I stitch onto burlap instead of fine-weave linen or cotton because the coarseness of the fabric feels modern to me and I wanted to use a fabric that visually felt a bit confrontational. My samplers aren't dainty little creatures under glass; they're not shy or retiring. Plus, the loose weave of burlap gave me the freedom of scale I was looking for. I think of my pieces as being "exploded" in the sense that they're blown up in size and freed from the limitations of historical subject matter.
As opposed to most of the work performed with a needle and thread in this town, my stitches show. They're black sutures which reveal inner truths.