Survivalist Samplers: ‘sampling’ as a future tradition

A talk by Sera Waters | Thursday 19 August 2021 | 6PM

Samplers are commonly associated with their seventeenth century reputation, when they were tools to educate girls technically, morally, religiously and obediently into domestic roles. Yet predating this practice, the root idea of samplers was of ‘sampling’; gathering and preserving textile skills, patterns and knowledge into valuable samplers to be passed along family and community lines. This talk will expand upon restoring the method of ‘sampling’ as both an artistic and pragmatic strategy for negotiating a future threatened by growing climatic changes. ‘Sampling’ will be analysed as a tool which can offer real-world and tangible change; preserving knowledge for survival, passing along textile skills, offering respite from overwhelming information and sharing practical tactics. This talk will follow some of the many threads of this care-full practice and explore the power in collectively reviving this tradition for future generations.

The #survivalistsampler project has been developed within Future Traditions,  a visual arts project enabled by the 2020 Guildhouse Fellowship, with Art Gallery of South Australia and supported by the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation.


About the speaker…

Dr. Sera Waters is an Adelaide based artist, arts writer and academic. Since being awarded a Ruth Tuck Scholarship in 2006 to study hand embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework (UK), Waters’ art practice has been characterised by a darkly stitched meticulousness. Her embroideries and hand-crafted sculptures dwell within the gaps of Australian histories to examine settler-colonial home-making patterns and practices, especially her own genealogical ghostscapes. More recently Waters has been exploring how textile traditions can help us navigate a future affected by climate change. Major exhibitions include Dark Portals, at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia (2013), Sappers and Shrapnel at Art Gallery of South Australia (2016), and Going Round in Squares at Ararat Gallery TAMA (2019). In 2017 she was the recipient of the inaugural ACE Open South Australian artist commission, where she staged her solo exhibition Domestic Arts. This exhibition is currently touring South Australian regional galleries with Country Arts SA presented in partnership with ACE Open. Her works are held by the Cruthers collection of Women’s art, Ararat Regional Gallery, the Art Gallery of South Australia and private collections nationwide. Waters is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery.


$25 (includes a complimentary glass of wine on arrival)

Numbers limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Ticket for event only.


Front image: Sera Waters (Australia b.1979), Survivalist sampler #2 2020–1, Adelaide, cotton, repurposed linen. On loan from the artist. Sera Waters is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery and is the current recipient of the 2020 Guildhouse Fellowship, with the Art Gallery of South Australia and supported by the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation.


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