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Labour and more art by Millicent Clarke

Labour, 2021
9 x 9 cm (h x w)
GBP 300
Aida
cotton thread

“Labour” aims to create a tension between itself and the viewer by having the finished embroidered artwork hidden in the fold of the fabric. All you can see are knots, and over laying threads. You can see the time and effort that went into the work, but not the work itself.

It is undeniable that embroidery is interwoven with cliché stereotypes of femininity, and is often seen as a characteristic of femininity, due to our patriarchal society and femininity being viewed as ‘less than’ all things, masculine embroidery is labelled as craft. The division of art forms into hierarchical classification of arts and crafts is usually due to aspects of gender and class. The artwork allows you to see what you often don’t in embroidered works, and that’s the time and skill it took to create, you can see where the thread first penetrates the fabric, and it eventually runs out over and over again. It often takes longer to embroider work than it does to paint one, yet is belittled as craft and one is elevated as art.

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