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The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine
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The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  79 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In this fascinating study, Rozsika Parker traces a hidden history--the shifting notions of femininity and female social roles--by unraveling the history of embroidery from medieval times until today.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 13th 1989 by Routledge (first published January 1st 1984)
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Deirdre
Rambles a bit but this is an interesting (if currently dated) look at Embroidery and how in many ways it has come to define a certain level of femininity. How it went from being a career to being an acceptable way for women to pass their time and how it has been diminished by both men and women.

I know from personal experience how little people appreciate handcrafts and how if I quote a fair price for embroidery work that people are surprised. This is an interesting look at how embroidery became
...more
Anne
I started reading this work on a research trip, and then the library recalled it, so I need to get it back. This work discusses the use of embroidery by women as a mode of expression and in some cases rebellion. I have to say that one of the most striking things I have read in it so far - and I am not too far into it - is a section on a woman who was suspicious of her daughter's needlework. She doesn't like that during all other tasks her daughter hums and sings, but during embroidery, she is si ...more
Ellen
I had read this many years ago, but had decided it would be timely to reread this since I have been reading books like Craftivism, Bibliocraft, Strange material and the Bayeaux Tapestry. This one really did come first, and those other titles follow very worthily. It is a bit dated, but still a very strong book to read, and much of the anger over historical depictions is still very valid. It is still necessary reading (well, at least very strongly suggested reading) after reading some of the titl ...more
Margaret Pride
Very interesting. Minus one star because I was disappointed in the quality of the illustrations in the edition I have. I would have liked to see color and more detail on many of the pieces shown.
Sarah
Part art history part feminist history, but all embroidery. There were definitely some interesting bits in the book, but a pretty heavy read all around.
Lorie
A bit dry, but still fascinating. A throw-back to my days as a Fiber major.
Megan
Insanely interesting and the last chapter was very exciting to read.
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“I identified historical hierarchical division of the arts into fine arts and craft as a major force in the marginalisation of women's work.” 2 likes
“Femininity and sweetness are part of women's strength...Quiet strength need not be mistaken for useless vulnerability.” 2 likes
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