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Stitching the Self - Identity and the Needle Arts

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Edited by Johanna Amos and Lisa Binkley

The needle arts are traditionally associated with the decorative, domestic, and feminine. Stitching the Self sets out to expand this narrow view, demonstrating how needlework has emerged as an art form through which both objects and identities – social, political, and often non-conformist – are crafted.

Bringing together the work of ten art and craft historians, this black-and-white illustrated collection focuses on the interplay between craft and artistry, amateurism and professionalism, and re-evaluates ideas of gendered production between 1850 and the present. From quilting in settler Canada to the embroidery of suffragist banners and the needlework of the Bloomsbury Group, it reveals how needlework is a transformative process – one which is used to express political ideas, forge professional relationships, and document shifting identities.

With a range of methodological approaches, including object-based, feminist, and historical analyses, Stitching the Self examines individual and communal involvement in a range of textile practices. Exploring how stitching shapes both self and world, the book recognizes the needle as a powerful tool in the fight for self-expression.

Johanna Amos is Assistant Professor (adjunct) of art, textile and fashion history at Queen's University, Ontario, Canada.

Lisa Binkley is an Assistant Professor in Material Culture, and Indigenous and Settler Women's Histories in the Department of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020, hardcover, 9 x 6 inches, 248 pages.