Stitch Safari Roadmap Resource

Book Review: The Subversive Stitch

Waxing lyrical about books is sort of my thing.  I love books, so when a book actually takes me on a journey or makes me think – that’s special.

Embroidered bookbinding for the Felbrigge Psalter in couched gold thread and split stitch, likely worked by Anne de Felbrigge, a nun in the convent of Minoresses at Bruisyard, Suffolk, during the latter half of the fourteenth century.

And that’s what Subversive Stitch by Rozsika Parker did for me.  To date, my interest in Feminism has been minimal.  However, this book offers well-supported explanations surrounding the premise for ‘the feminine ideal’ and its link with needlework, from medieval times to the twentieth century.

Beautifully reinforced by a plethora of references, I found myself investigating Medieval illuminated manuscripts, The Suffrage Movement, The Glasgow Girls and so much more.

Rozsika Parker examines how embroidery became identified with a particular set of feminine characteristics, creating the feminine ideal, by mapping the relationship between periods of history and the changing ideologies on feminine behaviour from the Middle Ages through to the twentieth century.

Initially, I didn’t find this an easy book to jump into, but it soon became riveting reading.  Filled with insights into people, offering a deeper understanding of both context and application, which enables Rozsika to weave a compelling narrative embracing embroiderers, artists, architects, writers, journalists, historians and archeologists.   Religion, literature and social movements also lead to a fascinating and fulsome passage of information showing the reciprocal relationship women have had, and still have, with embroidery.SuffrageBanner.CathyJackCoupland

I’ll definitely be using The Subversive Stitch for further investigation and research, and to just refresh re-inspire.  The generous Selected Bibliography and Further Reading list will keep me busy for ages.

This book is inspiring and I recommend it for anyone at all interested in the link between embroidery and femininity.

First published in 2010 by I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd.  Reprinted 2011 (twice), 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019.  This edition published by Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2019, reprinted 2019 (twice), 2020.

 

Cathy Jack Coupland

 

 

The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine
Rozsika Parker
Rozsika Parker examines how embroidery became identified with a particular set of feminine characteristics, creating the feminine ideal, by mapping the relationship between periods of history and the changing ideologies on feminine behaviour from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century.

Stay up to date on The Stitch Safari Facebook Page

Most recent resources

Medieval Craftsmen Embroiderers

Medieval Craftsmen Embroiderers

Kay Staniland is an English author and embroiderer, with five other titles to her name. This small book, published by British Museum Press, London, in 1991 is a well-researched introduction into the somewhat hazy and indefinite world of medieval embroiderers - the...

Book Review:  Threads of Life

Book Review: Threads of Life

Author Clare Hunter was a finalist for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, with a story published in its 2017 Annual, a recipient of a Creative Scotland Award in 2016 and winner of the Saltire First Book Award for Threads of Life.  Clare is also a sewer, banner...

Book Review:  English Medieval Embroidery Opus Anglicanum

Book Review: English Medieval Embroidery Opus Anglicanum

English Medieval Embroidery, Opus Anglicanum was published in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, to accompany a major exhibition held in 2017. Edited by Clare Browne, Curator of European Textiles, pre-1800, V&A London, Glynn Davies, Curator of...