A Subversive Stitch by Fiona Dempster -SOLD OUT!

This book was developed as part of the international collaboration BookArtObject, Edition Four, Group 2. The title was one of 100 short stories in An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen (2010), by Sarah Bodman and is used with the author’s permission. The title was selected by me and the edition developed in response to the title. Other BAO artists selected other titles. My mind wandered across several different thoughts and approaches for this book and I settled on a combination of ideas around women's work and stitching, darning, and embroidering; about censorship and letters written home during the wars where sentence were blacked out, leaving the safe words showing; about stitching to remove words and leaving others; about history where men mostly got to write it and women weren't featured.  Quite an amalgam. I machine-stitched the words away on the cover, leaving the important ones behind, with threads dangling madly everywhere – a little bit subversive perhaps?  On the inside pages, the words are sealed in place and can’t be easily removed or erased; and yet the tracing paper makes it a bit hard to discern what is written. The words are printed on paper where I had also printed an image of the threads off all the covers. I usually work in very subdued tones; but this red seemed just right for the subject and I loved playing with it.

Artist Bio

Fiona Dempster is a calligraphic and book artist based in Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. She loves books, words, marks and text, and her work is generally elegant, spare and restrained; seeking the essence of things rather than an elaborate and complex expression of them. Fiona has studied calligraphy since she was a child and has developed fine skills in both calligraphy and as a bookmaker. Her work is often paper-based and takes the form of books; however, more recently she has begun working with metal, timber and Perspex to express words and texts in ways that take calligraphy off the page and into the outdoors. In addition to her studio work Fiona also teaches calligraphy and book-making to both adults and children. She has exhibited in joint exhibitions with her husband Barry Smith and in group exhibitions, across Australia. Fiona was a finalist in the 2010 Libris Book Awards, the 2011 Southern Cross University's Acquisitive Artists' Book Award and the 2011 East Gippsland Artist Book Award. Her work is held in private collections in Australia, the USA and Japan.