Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Crosscurrents: Land, Labor, and the Port. Textile Society of America's 15th Biennial Symposium. Savannah. GA. October 19-23. 2016.


Copyright 2016 by Sandra Heffernan.


A textile installation shaped by traditional embroidery, geographical differences, technology and novel natural dye is the focus of this paper. ‘Through the globe’ [Através do globo] is the result of a six week artist in residency at Contextile 2016 in Guimarães, Portugal.1 It builds upon environmental pest invasive weed dye research, interprets ‘traditional’ embroidery illustrating the poetics of place.2 The essence of Guimarães embroidery provides the narrative along the fourteen metre length and is the physical embodiment of the antipodal link between and Wellington, New Zealand. The challenge offered by Contextile 2016 was to collaborate with Oficina embroiderers to learn, then use traditional Guimarães embroidery, and, then exhibit the work at Residências Artistícas at Casa da Memória [House of Memory] in the Contextile 2016 triennial.3 During a period in the late nineteenth century a desire for the creation of national identity existed and the documentation of Guimarães embroidery began to ensure it gained visibility.4 The embroidery arose from a range of other factors including human will, sensibility, and dexterity to create a united unique style. Traditionally, rural women’s waistcoats were richly embroidered, such as one included in the University of Aberdeen Needlework Development Scheme collection. 5 Now, Guimarães embroidery is mostly used to adorn home ware products for the tourist market.