Embroidered Identity

29.04.2018 to 07.10.2018 | Museum der Kulturen Basel, StrawGold

A needle, a thread and surface – that’s all you need for embroidering. Embroidery is used to embellish all kinds of textiles and serves as a marker of identity, for instance, in the form of appliqué designs on jeans jackets, grandma’s doilies, embroidered spangles, or cross-stitch traditional costumes.

The Institute of Textile Research sets out on an exploratory journey in search of contemporary forms of textile artisanship. During its guest appearance in the show StrawGold at the Museum der Kulturen Basel we wish to take a closer look at embroidery by focusing on stories around personal collector’s items.

We start out from Basel with three portrait series: visiting people at home or in their studio we ask owners to show us their embroidered treasures. In the course of the conversation we create portrait pictures showing the owners with their embroidery. Subsequently we ask the people to recommend other persons who would be willing to join in on the project, and then go on to portray them in the same way and include them in the exhibition. Our plan is to add three new portrays to the show every first Tuesday of the month up until August 2018.

At the same time, we will collect portrait pictures by email, showing people with their cherished embroidered objects. The participants are encouraged to invite others – family members, friends, neighbours, etc. – to join in and thus gradually expand the portrait collection. These pictures will also be included in the exhibition; they will be spread out on a table where they can be viewed, sorted according to self-defined criteria, and presented.


In cooperation with: Museum der Kulturen Basel, Institute HyperWerk HGK FHNW
Project team: Anna Cordasco, Kira Pfirter, Nina Zollinger, Tamara Stäheli
Portrayed: Pia Castiglioni, Martin Brunner, Hanspeter Arni, Manfred Kocher, Urban Zündt, Andre Aebi, Hansjörg Marti, Selma Weber, Victor Saudan, Silvia Bollhalder,
Arlène Stebler, Christoph Kummli, Corinne Morf, Flo Charlotte Osolin, Patricia Vogler
Pictures: Vito Cordasco