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Sarah-Jane Cook is thoroughly stitched up

Some things are better said in thread, which probably doesn’t make sense unless you’ve seen the extensive stitched work of Sarah-Jane Cook, an Australian visual artist who works primarily with needle, thread and lace trimmed hankerchiefs. Sweet from afar, a brief admiration of Cook’s handiwork gives way to an inspection of the messages embroidered. Ranging from a thank you for the easter eggs note from child to parent, to pro and con lists, scribbled shopping lists, recipes and abusive notes left for housemates, the collection is diverse and reveals much about the unknown characters who probably penned them in haste.

My favourite? ‘Whoever ate my icecream can keep your filthy hands off it’, stitched in bright orange running writing on a cream hanky trimmed with lace. If only I had it on hand to stick to the freezer door when one such unfortunate instance happened at home.

Cook, a chronic collector, hoarded notes and lists for some thirteen years before selecting a precious few to transform into permanent monuments, a kind of social history, which makes me wonder if her practice will ever extend to sewing particularly telling Facebook statuses or late night tweets.

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