My embroidery, knitting and crochet work with construction materials and other non-traditional substrates builds on an earlier body of work dealing with concepts of domestic and social order. My grandmother’s embroidered wall hangings all contained text and images that proclaimed the virtues of good housekeeping. The symbolism in traditional Germanic cross-stitch embroidery is laden with messages that resonate with social control. While the original imagery of the tree of life is pre-Christian (evident in the acorn, stags, roosters, etc.), recent patterns feature catholic and imperial symbols (cross, crown, anchor, key, etc.) patriarchal institutions of church and state impose oppressive rules on women; yet, rural women in many European countries continue to embroider symbols of those powers on tablecloths, towels and pillows.
Feminist activism inspired much of my work in the 80s. I created portraits of women at work – in the home, on the street and in the space between public and private. Images of the tools and materials offered illustrations of our roles in production and reproduction of labour power. Installations and assemblages incorporated tropes from the battle against patriarchy – making the personal political and taking down the structures of power.