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Articles - CfP Topic

Vol. 7 No. 1 (2021): Materiality of Writing. Reconsidering Religious Texts

«As i cannot write I put this down simply and freely»: Samplers as a Religious Material Practice

June 11, 2020


Samplers are important sources for exploring the interaction between religion, text, and materiality. For centuries, needlework has been a textile technique to teach girl a skill that may have ensured an income. By means of stitches and threads, young women learned basic knowledge, patience and moral judgment. This article explores a unique sampler from the middle of the nineteenth century in Southern England. The author, a young girl called Elizabeth Parker, transforms the practice of embroidering a sampler by stitching a text that challenges social and religious conventions. The document offers a deep insight into the life, knowledge and religious life of a working girl class that “could not write” but could articulate herself by means of an ancient textile technique.