Survivalist Sampler




Embroidery: Oppression to Expression
The David Roche Foundation, Adelaide
17 June - 25 September, 2021


Featuring exquisite embroideries from across four centuries, Embroidery: Oppression to Expression embraces contemporary textile practice in Australia and traditional European styles.

Sera's Survivalist Sampler #2 was shown in this exhibition alongside 4 other survivalist samplers.

Find more information HERE



screenshots from #survivalistsampler contributions on Instagram

#Survivalistsampler Origins


From March 2020, propelled by the pandemic, the #survivalistsampler project began as a callout on social media by artist Sera Waters and grew into a collective and community-based project enabling stitching together at a distance. Dozens of individuals, across Australia and beyond, responded using needle-worked sampling to record their individual responses to challenges borne of the pandemic as they emerged in real-time. Many #survivalistsampler stitchers expressed they were thinking of other stitchers, of their forebears, of their future generations, while stitching. They stitched words coined in 2020, ‘unprecedented’ or ‘wear masks’, and they stitched their individual experiences, perspectives and details that often get lost from documented histories. You could be mistaken for thinking these are small domestic acts, carried out at home to appease an individual’s anxiety. And they are. But they are also activist in their vision to operate outside the fast-paced consumerist systems currently governing this planet. #survivalistsampler, as a community project, preserve knowledge for survival, pass along textile skills, offer respite from dystopian realities, and share practical tactics for negotiating impending crisis in their recreation of patterns, paces, and care-based practices inherited from long ago.

Original Instagram call out (March 19 2020):

"I believe artists and stitchers have an important role to play right now. I had begun a Collaborative Prepping stitch based project at Adelaide Central School of Art Gallery with the exhibition Drastic Fabric, but as events have unfolded around Coronavirus this has necessarily adapted. My recent Survivalist Sampler series now seem more prescient than ever. Stitch for me is a way of lessening worry, documenting important skills and knowledge, and providing hope thorough wisdom about a shared future. I am calling out to anyone who would like to join me in stitching their own survivalist sampler. Record in stitch these unprecedented times, knowledge that can help us move forward, your thoughts and insights, your life and what you value. Samplers from all cultures and times have become surviving records of their makers lives. They are so valuable. I suggest starting with fabric about the size of a tea towel, or a tea towel itself, and find a quiet time each day to add something small. It is slow progress but meaningful. I will post my progress if you post yours, using #survivalistsampler."






Telling Tales




2014 - ongoing: The Local Ghost Laboratory: collecting anecdoatal data on ghosts in South Australia


2011: Flocked: Collecting Bird Stories from SA


2004 - 2010: Vitamin archive