For the mothers of the disappeared in 1970s Argentina, protest was difficult. Every Thursday they marched in front of government buildings wearing headscarves embroidered with the names of their lost children. Through sewing, they found a way to campaign. In Tudor England Mary, Queen of Scots was under house arrest and her letters were censored, so she sewed secret treason into her needlework to communicate with the world outside.
From the political propaganda of the Bayeux Tapestry and First World War soldiers with PTSD, to the maps sewn by schoolgirls in the New World, Threads of Life stretches from medieval France to contemporary Mexico, from a POW camp in Singapore to a family attic in Scotland. It is a chronicle of identity, protest, memory, power and politics told through the stories of the men and women, over centuries and across continents, who have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard, even in the most desperate of circumstances.
In an eloquent blend of history and memoir, Threads of Life is an evocative and moving book about the need we all have to tell our story.
Clare Hunter has been a banner-maker, community textile artist and textile curator for over twenty years and has established the community enterprise NeedleWorks in Glasgow. She was a finalist for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award, and had a story published in its 2017 Annual. She was also a recipient of a Creative Scotland Award in 2016. Threads of Life is her first book.