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Guest blogger: Kurbits on "The Embroidered Word"

I once learnt that the latin word textus could be translated as weave or plait. And that of course made me realize that the connection between words, texts and handicraft is easy to make. For some, even, they’re combined and synonymous. Many are the books and literature that has been written about crafty women throughout the centuries. Stories that is woven together by tales of material and techniques, terms of crafts coming alive in the look-sides of the book. But it’s not just a coincidence that I think of this just at this time. There’s a festive atmosphere here in Gothenburg. Or in the whole of Sweden, actually. The annual Book fair is coming to town. A gathering that attracts thousands and thousands of bookwormy enthusiasts. What stories will be told about the words and texts this year? And will any of them tell us about embroidery? Maybe and probably. The connection could be of the same caliber as last year’s debutant Burcu Sahin beautifully put it in his collection of poetry: 

Threads hanging gold glimmering weighed / stories in the stitches the nights we stay up / listening to the elder / grandmother turning the cloth / this incomprehensible backingPhoto of Burcu Sahin

Handicrafts are said to be laconic, which I always think is a simplification of the art. The floss is bearing all sorts of literature where the introspective embroideress can express herself in stitches and words, quotes or lyrics. Where she can find both peace and energy.

A couple of years ago Gisela Ståle started to express herself with a needle and floss, powerful thoughts and prudent statements that soon came to a lot of attention on her Instagram @broderauttexten With almost shockingly dark humor she lets her memoirs start with the following two lines:

“broke down moved forward broke down moved / forward broke down moved forward broke” and so on

The memoirs of Gisela Ståle

To embroider ones memoirs could perhaps be somewhat hard maneuvered, but finding an inspiring piece of literature or poetry could be easier yet to embroider. On “Blå Stället” in Gothenburg there will be an alternative book fair held on Saturday September 21st. Amongst other exciting things there will be a workshop in book quote embroidery. You should, if your nearby, bring your own favourite quote and take the chance to give your all time fave character a new life through embroidery.  

Transforming literary quotes is probably something every “embroidernerd” is familiar with. Transforming facts on the other hand, is a totally different thing. I would want to end this post by dedicating the following section to Magna Carta, the human rights agreement from 1215 and the huge embroidery project inspired by it. The British textile artist Cornelia Parker embroidered a Wikipedia article concerning this particular document. The piece turned somewhat public and collective when nearly 200 people joined in. It’s now 1.5 meters wide and 13 meters long and a complete image of the whole Wikipedia article.

/Frida Arnqvist Engström journalist and creator behind the blog Kurbits.nu. Hobby embroideress with a bit too much going on. Loves the idea about stitches and words being more in line than thought. 

Best of yet:

All Instagram accounts connecting embroidery and written expressions:

@bittrabroderier @varemet @broderarhen @jonskorsstygn @broderiklubbenbk

Worst of yet:

My total failure in choosing a favourite quote from a favourite book to embroider. There’s too many!  

Picture from the exhibition "Literally speaking"

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