Survivalist Sampler

Stitched by: Carolyn Corletto

Pattern designed by: original

Carolyn Corletto, “Survivalist Sampler”, 2020, 40x40cm, vintage linen napkin, cotton thread

I have always admired the use of the domestic arts to reflect the effect of historical or family events on people’s everyday lives. Quilts, tapestries, linen, clothes and other textiles are worked using symbols, images and coded patterns with the available or recycled materials of the time. We connect most with history through people’s everyday objects. So when the idea of a survivalist sampler was posted I was inspired to be part of it during what seemed to be a historic event. Calling the project a ‘survivalist sampler’ reminded me of all the strong women throughout history who survived and thrived under challenging conditions to provide comfort and security for their families. Not knowing where the pandemic would go was definitely bringing up that keep calm and carry on attitude.

During my three periods of isolation stitching the sampler was a punctuation to the day. Done after dinner, it became a record of how I felt or used my time that day. It was like crossing a day off the calendar, enhancing the feeling of actually achieving something that day. Most of the entries were positive, about family time and the pursuit of activities and others expressed the concern and frustration we were feeling. Having a strong family history of sewing and other handiwork this kind of activity provides the comfort of familiarity and constancy. My family are Dutch and the Dutch call it ‘lekker bezig’ which literally translated means deliciously busy. It denotes the feeling of accomplishment someone has while pursuing a particularly engaging activity.

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