Family Tales on Terry Towelling – a workshop with Sera Waters


17 October 2020
10am – 3pm

1 November 2020
10am – 3pm

Join Sera Waters in this workshop exploring creative ways to tell family tales using stitch techniques and repurposed domestic textiles.

Based upon Sera’s Telling Tales on Terry Towelling series, touring with the Domestic Arts exhibition, participants will begin to create their own family towel.

This will include a silk-shaded portrait (in wool or crewel), as well as collaged found textiles, appliqued and stitched on to create family tales. As well as learning stitch techniques around tonal shading and portraiture, this workshop encourages experimentation around the many ways domestic textiles can be reused meaningfully and the importance of carrying along stories from our past.


What to share with Fabrik before the workshop:

• A photographic portrait of a family member or loved one. Their face will be scanned and enlarged to create a pattern from. Photographs with clear and large faces are preferred (the bigger the better!).

Please email your image at least 1 week before the workshop to Sera will make a pattern from your image and bring it for you to work with on the day. Send your photograph saved as a jpeg (300dpi is best and no larger than 15 x 15cm squared). Please note that if this is proving to be too tricky, send an email to let us know and we will work on a suitable alternative together.


What to bring to the workshop:

• The original colour photograph of your family member or loved one (for reference)

• A special towel to stitch onto (this might be from a family member, or one with a pattern you like, but be prepared to cut and stitch into it. Alternative towels will also be available if you need).

• Fabric scissors

• Large embroidery hoops (some hoops will be provided but bring your own if you have one you prefer)

• Special found textiles: from your own collection and which you are willing to cut and use on your family towel (there will also be many to select from at the workshop)

• Any other embellishments that may be important for your family tale: sequins, beads, trims, threads and so on.

What will be provided:

Hoops, needles, threads (cottons and wools), a range of fabric and towels, canvas for portraits, trace, pencils, washable pens, pins, cups of tea, coffee and refreshments.


Sera Waters is a South Australian artist, arts writer and academic living upon Kaurna Country. Waters was recently announced recipient of the 2020 Guildhouse Fellowship. Her art practice, characterised by a darkly stitched meticulousness, dwells within the gaps of Australian settler-colonial home-making histories, her own genealogical ghostscapes, and the potential within future traditions. In 2017 she was recipient of the inaugural ACE Open South Australian artist commission to develop her solo exhibition Domestic Arts. This exhibition will tour South Australian regional galleries from September 2020 with Country Arts SA. She is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery.

This workshop will take place in Building 21 (the former market building) at Fabrik, amidst the loveliness of Sera Waters Domestic Arts exhibition. Please look out for directional signage on the day.

A 30 minute break is scheduled and participants will need to make their own lunch arrangements on the day.

Image courtesy Sera Waters.

Image with text. Text reads "family tales on terry towelling". Image shows a face stitched onto a vintage towel.