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The Crimson Thread of Kinship

Highlights: Panel one

Panel 1 of the embroidery
Panel one of the embroidery. Photo: George Serras.

A collapsing mountain

Early drawing of mountain section

Sharon Peoples' narrative design for the Crimson Thread of Kinship begins with a cataclysmic disturbance of the land. She drew the concept of a collapsing mountain from Rodney Hall's novel The Island in the Mind.

For Sharon, this image was a metaphor for how European settlers transformed the Australian landscape.

Early drawing of mountain section. Courtesy: Sharon Peoples.

Sewing the shells

Shell embroidery sample

The embroiderers used a special technique to give the shells a three-dimensional appearance.

'Each of the three large shells in the first panel was worked on a slip and then applied so that it nestled into its shadow. The other shells were made with several layers of stitching.' Margaret Thompson, embroiderer.

Shell embroidery sample. Courtesy Margaret Thompson, ACT Embroiderers' Guild. Photo: George Serras.

An Aboriginal midden

Aboriginal midden

A midden is essentially a rubbish heap that contains such things as discarded bones, shells, charcoal and tools. Archaeologists use middens to investigate how people lived and particularly what they ate and how they cooked their food.

'I needed to speak of Aboriginal occupation and the disturbance to the land by Europeans. I suddenly realised I had many drawings and gouaches made at Kioloa, on the southern coast of New South Wales. I had been on a Canberra School of Art camp and guest lecturer Dr Diana Wood Conroy had directed an archaeological drawing exercise of an Aboriginal midden which had been in continuous use for 14,000 years. The discarded shells and broken cutting stones were a very domestic scene.' Sharon Peoples.

Aboriginal midden (detail). Photo: George Serras.