GPS Embroidery

Global Positioning Systems were invented in the service of imperialism.

So was the confinement of the mother to the home.

Residues of 18th-century colonialism still cling to our ideas of mother, of landscape, and of nation. They are emotive and highly political (mother country, home office, domestic policy).  Romantic literature frequently frames the landscape as mother, but doesn’t leave much room for her as individual within it.

So, in 2016,  I decided to hijack these tools, to talk back to the powers that made them. Walking in the landscape, the to and fro of the GPS signal to the satellite echoes an embroidery needle, but one stitching far from the domestic space in which these displays of middle class behaviour were originally prescribed. I ‘embroidered’ quotations by forgotten Romantic artist-mothers in picture postcard places, finding new meanings in the relationship between their words and my location.

In 2017, I invited other people who mother to enjoy the conviviality of embroidery, to broaden ideas about who-gets-to-write-what-where in and about the British landscape and to draw attention to silences it still contains. We also hijacked another tool of war – the drone- to record the act of writing.

Eventually we will create a multiplicity of 21st century embroideries, legacies to pass down like the domestically-produced examples from the past.

Home isn’t the only place that’s sweet.

What will you embroider?


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