Published by Carol Cooke and Sharon Peoples
Canberra, Australia, 2023
Design Praxis Creative Art Canberra
Cover image The Watering Hole by Sharon People, embroidery and plastic waste
This is indeed an exuberant book, created as a by-product of an exhibition of fibre and fabric art by 20 artists, including the two book creators.
To say it is about embroidery is to do it a disservice, because it is that and so much more. Each of the artists has written a statement to accompany the work featured, and the thoughts expressed are both diverse and profound.
Beginning with the consideration of the colour wheel, the artists were tasked with creating something hand-stitched which came from their separate explorations of place, ideas and creativity. There were also introspective musings.
The result is a series of essays about self, society, politics, art and the creative process, along with a collection of splendid hand-made stitched artworks. Artists have commented on colonisation, sexism, racism, experiences of travel, isolation, the magnificence of the Australian landscape and the beauty of nature in their own back gardens. In reading their words we are afforded entrée into not just the creative process but also to the artist him or herself.
This has resulted in a book which will hold the interest of people with no knowledge or initial connection with embroidery. In the same way that paintings chart society’s attitudes so does this book comment on the way our society sees ‘women’s work’ and ‘craft’. It invites philosophising from both the artists and the reader.
Each of the artists represented in this work has a rich practice in fibre arts. To fail to list them would seem churlish.
They are: Aimee Estcourt, Amy Jones, Belinda Jessup, Carol Cooke, Carolyn Sullivan, Cathy Jack Coupland, Di Ellis, Dijanne Cevaal, Joy Denise Scott, Leonie Andrews, Liam Benson, Liz Payne, Makeda Duong, Nicole Kemp, Nicole P O’Loughlin, Philomena Hail, Robby Wright, Sharon Peoples, Susie Vickery, Wilma Simmons.
Exuberance is an object of beauty with high quality production and vibrant colour reproduction. It will form part of our national art history but is also bound to be a well-thumbed private library treasure.
Thank you to Carol Cooke and Sharon Peoples for my review copy and for an interesting chat about the book’s genesis and potential.