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Potato | Sifted sampler #7

Sifted Samplers is my exploration into folk wisdom, aspirational values and just good old common sense.


It seems to me that much of our wisdom comes from time spent with others at the kitchen table and in the garden, especially when you're a child. A place for robust debate where stories are shared, problems discussed and values developed, all too often subconsciously (in my case, anyway).

Sifted Samplers is my exploration into folk wisdom, aspirational values and just good old common sense.

The same water that hardens the egg

Softens the potato


Read into this what you will.

A bit about samplers.

The word exampler or sampler is derived from the French éxamplair, meaning a kind of model or pattern to copy or imitate. The Latin word exemplum, meaning a copy, was, by the 16th century, spelt saumpler, sampler or exemplar. Their historical role has been that they are a method of recording information.

Before printed pattern books, embroidery designs were passed from hand to hand, many travelling through Europe from the Middle East. The recording of patterns and motifs on fabric for future use was an essential method of storing information. This stitched reference resulted in the creation of a sampler. New patterns and stitches were avidly collected and exchanged. Patterns were placed in a haphazard way over the cloth. These samplers are now referred to as random or spot samplers.

Modern interpretations of samplers are often worked in cross stitch alone. This was not always the case, band samplers of the sixteenth century often combined different stitch traditions such as Blackwork, Assisi work and complicated bands of whitework and open-work. 

Stitching the alphabet began in the 17th century. By the 19th century, samplers were well established as vehicles for religious instruction, geography, English and mathematics. School girls produced needlework exercises of almanacs, mathematical tables and maps, as well as numbers and letters.

Technical Information: 

Stitched with old carpet wool on a found kitchen sieve.

Written by

Margaret Lewis

5 Oct 2016

A bit about me ... maker, conceiver and producer at the leading edge of urban art practice.