Australian needlework samplers

Australian needlework samplers

The other day Penny of Back Valley Seasons wrote a post about her Grandmothers sampler which made me poke around the net to see if there were any Australian needlework samplers were online.

The powerhouse museum has a sampler worked by Isabel Buist (1839) at age 9. As the blurb on the powerhouse site points out the tradition of young girls working a sampler was well established by the time Australia was colonised.

After discovering this sampler I worked my way through the links on the powerhouse site. One of the delights I discovered is the Mary Ann Gorringe sampler (1839?) Another contemporary sampler/swatch book page is from Annemieke Mein described as “Costume sampler, ‘thread, fibres, fabrics’ for ‘Dragon Fly cape, Lacewing vest, Cup-moth skirt and Beetle slip, various fibres,”

Seeing Annemieke Mein’s swatch sampler page made me feel not so bad about the way I use my visual journal you will see what I mean if you scroll to the bottom of this link to see how I document work.

Back to Australian samplers however – before I get sidetracked I want to point to a sampler worked by an 11 year old Miles Franklin held in the National Library’s Collection
The sampler made by Dorcas McGee has interesting Australian connections.

I am sure some readers will find this article on A brief history of samplers interesting. I wrote it in 1997 at the time of this exhibition. These samplers I worked are about a meter long and there are 7 of them! I was mad although they did look good in the gallery.


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