Sally Hewett: Body Embroideries

I am interested in the social and political history of Embroidery as well as in the development of embroidery and stitching as a craft. The use of particular embroidery stitches for particular effects – e.g. French knots for the centres of flowers satin stitch, chain stitch, stump work etc.

I am also interested ideas of beauty and in the things people do to their bodies in the name of beauty. Men and women almost ritualistically shave and remove hair from their bodies – beards, underarm hair, pubic hair, leg hair etc, whereas other hair – hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes – are valued and encouraged to flourish. But there is other hair which not everyone has. Sometimes this special hair seems to be reason to feel ashamed. A large number of women and men submit their bodies to extraordinary procedures in the name of convention or beauty – liposuction, implants, scarification, surgery, lazer treatment, electrolysis etc.

My embroidery and stitching practice centres on bodies, beauty and ugliness and the conventions that determine which is seen as which. My medium is mainly stitched and embroidered fabric. I am interested in how we see things, how we interpret what we see and how the connotations of needlework and embroidery as a medium affect how the content is seen – is it seen as ugly, beautiful or funny?

CREDITS: Sally Hewett