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Kettle, AM., 2016.

The Scalloped Edge

Output Type:Exhibition
Venue:Galeria dos Prazeres
Dates:15/7/2016 - 9/10/2016
Number of Works:25

This exhibition looks at the separate cultural embroidery traditions of Madeira and UK. It investigates how these traditions define cultural heritage and how these have been translated and updated into contemporary stitch practice. The project uses stitch as a common cultural language to make connections through motif, process and metaphor.
The sharing and exchange of tacit knowledge with the local community in a series of collaborative works forms an important part of the collection of work that arises from this project.

Embroidery in Madeira as with British stitchwork, is undertaken primarily by women. As a fixed site for traditional stitch practice it is viewed as non-authentic when any deviation from prescribed methods is introduced. This has implications for the future vitality of embroidery, as a fixed site it stays firmly within its form. The study questions the disruption of tradition as an erosion of cultural value, and implies that in liberating stitch practice, a comparable emancipation of women can take place. The exhibition uses distinctive elements of Madeiran embroidery and seeks to examine how this heritage can be contemporized through the English more liberal artistic approach where reinterpretation of method has become common practice. I will use my contemporary works in machine and hand stitch as a site to interrogate the value of interpretation in both cultural traditions. Titled the Scalloped Edge, which is a feature of Madeiran embroidery, the study draws upon its characteristic palette of white or blue and the repeated flowing lines in satin stitch and long-and-short stitch as a dialogical tool between women. It is used as the metaphor of cultural exchange, collaboration and union - fertile currents of exchange. Stitch is a connecting medium between communities of women and the scalloped edge is the contested boundary of practice and tradition.