Sunday, June 3, 2012

A subversive stitch - the story and the book (Group 2)

I have sent these little books out into the world and they appear to have reached their far-flung homes so it seems safe now to talk about the process and the finished product in a bit more detail. I am bit behind in posting to BAO - it's been a mad few weeks in Oz - but here it is. Apologies of those who have already read about it over on my blog.

My mind wandered across several different thoughts and approaches for this book and I settled on a combination of ideas around women's work and stitching, darning, and embroidering; about censorship and letters written home during the wars where sentences were blacked out, leaving the safe words showing; about stitching to remove words and leaving others; about history where men mostly got to write it and women weren't featured. Quite an amalgam.

I machine-stitched the words away on the cover, leaving the important ones behind, with threads dangling madly everywhere. On the inside pages, the words are sealed in place and can’t be easily removed or erased; and yet the tracing paper makes it a bit hard to discern what is written. The words are printed on paper where I had also printed an image of the threads off all the covers.

Here is the book from front to back.

Given so much of my work is quiet, subdued and uses a simple palette - this was a very liberating and exuberant book to make. I loved the mess of the threads, I loved the boldness of the colour, and I loved the messages.  A lot of my work is about quietness, peace and gentleness; yet this piece has a bit of the feminist in me in it which I thoroughly enjoyed expressing!


Abigail Thomas said...


Sara Bowen said...

Last weekend I had the pleasure of taking those Edition Four books for which I have received copies for Sarah Bodman up to show Helen Cole at the State Library of Queensland as they have previously collected BAO work - and she loved your book! She said that while she's seen other book works in which text has been obscured or obliterated, yours was the first she's seen to use sewn thread to do it, and she thought it was great.

paperworker said...

I am a lucky Group 2 recipient of Fiona's lovely book. The book is tactile and beautiful, with those startlingly red threads dangling elegantly off the page. Subtle and powerful message. Well done!

Fiona Dempster said...

Thanks for letting me know that Sara - I had planned to be at the talk as well, but life intervened! Go well.