Sunday, 26 July 2015

time has flown

I began looking at ‘domestic cloths’ - embroidered tray covers, table runners and special hand towels - when I was clearing out my mothers’ house. They were made to celebrate a ‘best’ event. They are a tribute to ‘femininity’ – both in the process of their creation, and in the appreciation of the observer.

I am liberating these domestic cloths from the back of the bottom drawer, renovating them with creative techniques and elevating them to the wall, to be enjoyed on a daily basis. By working with these items I am ultimately celebrating the femininity in the lives of the original makers.

This one started as a stained white cotton hand towel. It was dyed in a eucalyptus bath and had various Liberty prints collaged on to it. It was sliced into strips from top to bottom, and other strips of dyed wool and silks were woven in to create a new cloth surface. A ‘suture’ stitch is used extensively to hold it all together. The couching and embroidery on the top was inspired by a scrap of lace. It shows both masculine and feminine elements in equal parts.
The contrast between the precise ‘best’ of the ‘parlour’ (as inherited from my British ancestors) and the insidious nature of the Australian bush – the stain readily made by the gum leaves, the dust, the flies and the general dry ‘spikeyness’ of the flora fascinates me.


  1. I found this post very interesting, I have no cloths to liberate but do buy these old embroidered cloths in charity shops, some were cut up to make lavender scented hearts but I still have many that I have done nothing with. I was going to cut out the embroided parts and add them to other work but I like the way you are using them.
    I have been loving the prints you have acheived in the last few posts. I have never come across silk scrim before a lovely weave and delicate print on it.

  2. Thanks Debbie - it is becoming my 'mission' in life to 'liberate, renovate and celebrate'!