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The Crimson Thread of Kinship

Highlights: Panel three

Panel 3 of the embroidery
Panel three of the embroidery. Photo: George Serras.

The suburbs

The suburbs

Once Sharon Peoples had developed the central elements of the design — the thread and the cloud of papers — she realised that 'the landscape below needed to become more specific'.

'I remembered I had been drawing and photographing Gungahlin (a new suburban area of Canberra) since 1992 — another domestic scene. In many ways the design is not unlike the Bayeux Tapestry: stories happening below the main images.' Sharon Peoples

Sharon included a suburban development in the design. For embroiderer Marjorie Gilby, this scene, in the middle of the embroidery, was a 'stark reminder that our modern way of life is consuming the land'.

The suburbs (detail). Photo: George Serras.

Linen and thread

Straight stitch

The embroiderers chose traditional materials to create the Crimson Thread of Kinship. It is sewn on Glenshee twill linen, valued for its strength and neutral colour, using Appleton's wool threads, selected for their wide range of colours. The stars and the crimson thread were picked out using perle cotton.

Two types of stitches were used. Most of the work was sewn in straight stitch, a long stitch running diagonally across the twill. Some features were created in stem stitch. This stitch was suited to long horizontal elements such as the crimson thread and enables them to stand out from the background.

Straight stitch (detail). Photo: George Serras.

Unstitched linen

Sample of linen

The Embroiderers' Guild completed the six panels of the Crimson Thread of Kinship in only 11 months. Previous projects of similar size had taken several years.

'Some of the panels were completely covered in stitching and others had very little embroidery — it would have been impossible in the time frame to cover the entire surface in embroidery so I designed the work to leave areas of linen exposed in order to reduce stitching time.' Sharon Peoples.

Sample of linen. Photo: George Serras.