vivonne thwaites



sera waters


Flee to Haven, 2009
Wool, crewel, thread, velvet, yellow trim, cotton fabric, stuffing
Variable dimensions
Photography Michal Kluvanek



artist statement

The embroidered linens that adorned my grandmother’s home adhered to the pleasant and traditional subjects of flora and fauna. My own needle-works similarly speak in this ‘nice’ and decorative language of stitch, using French-knots, silk-shading, beads, sequins or black-work, but instead pierce fabrics with recollections of drama, disaster, misdemeanours and petty crime. Through my work I imagine that memories of the dramas that have occurred in our suburban homes and elsewhere seep into and visually scar soft furnishings and comforting belongings, such as clothing, doilies, curtains, linen and haberdashery. Sometimes these dramatics are invited into our home, sometimes they occur when the everyday goes a little askew, and sometimes they creep in through a broken window or forced lock, but whether fictional, imagined or actual, they can nevertheless leave embroidered impressions upon the home’s fabric witnesses.

This set of knives, from my Butchering series, grew out of a story I overheard in a line-up of petty crime victims, a story I previously thought urban myth. The woman recounted that amongst the precious items stolen from her home, frozen steaks were the most surprising. Myth no longer, I decided that petty (or not-so-petty) criminals could possibly be the dark versions of our suburban butchers: similarly revelling in blades, cuts, blood and ice. Knives, of varying size and purpose are tools-of-the-trade for butchers of the criminal and non-criminal variety. Yet, they are also commonly found in the suburban kitchen; mundanely used for slicing and stabbing. Stitched in steel grey on black, these knives are camouflaged on their black linen backgrounds. But as if spotted in the darkness, their glow-in-the-dark blades shimmer in the night and give away their potential dangers.


sera waters - cv

Short Biography

Sera Waters is an Adelaide-based practicing artist and arts writer whose work is often imbued with dark meticulousness. She has spent time living in Tokyo and is a graduate of the Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours), South Australian School of Art, (1997-2000) and the Master of Arts (studies in Art History), Adelaide University (2003-2006). She has been exhibiting regularly since graduating and being selected for Hatched, the National Graduate Exhibition at PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Art) in 2001. In 2006, Waters was awarded the Ruth Tuck Scholarship, which enabled her to attend the Royal School of Needlework (Hampton Court Palace, Surrey, UK) to study hand embroidery. This experience is clearly evident in Waters’ practice, which regularly explores and challenges stitched techniques. In 2009 three of Waters’ blackworks, from her Crooked Lineage explorations of petty crime, were selected to be exhibited in Talente, in the International Trade Fair, Munich. Waters is a current studio member of The Incinerator, Thebarton, and lectures and tutors in art history and theory, at Adelaide Central School of Art and the Art History program, Adelaide University, respectively.

Four of Sera Water's works have been acquired for a collection of women's art held at UWA.

1979 – Born Murray Bridge, South Australia
Lives Adelaide, South Australia

2006 Royal School of Needlework, Surrey, United Kingdom, Summer School courses: Goldwork, Blackwork, Silk shading, Miniature, Jacobean and Whitework.
2003-06 Adelaide University, Art History Department, Masters of Arts in Art History
2000 University of South Australia, South Australian School of Art, Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours
1997-99 University of South Australia, South Australian School of Art, Bachelor of Visual Arts
2010 Little Weeds, online + Peel Street exhibition space (with Format Festival) +Seedling Art Space , curated by Lisa Harms, Adelaide, SA
Hedgemaze, Prospect Gallery, Adelaide, SA
2009 Nell Pearson, Sera Waters, Claude Jones & Beci Orpin, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane, Qld
  Just Is, Max Dawn Gallery, Adelaide, SA
  Craft’n Disaster, The Project Space, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide, SA
  Wangaratta Contemporary Textile Award, Wangaratta Exhibition Gallery, Vic
  Talente 2009, International Trade Fair, Munich, Germany
  artroom5, Adelaide, SA
  Revealing Meaning in Cloth, curated by Annabelle Collette + Craftsouth, Prospect Gallery, SA
2008 artroom5, Adelaide, SA
2007 Spirited Away, Adelaide Central Gallery, Adelaide, SA
  Quiet Hands, Gaff Gallery, Port Adelaide, SA
  Hedgemaze, Light Square Gallery, Adelaide, SA
2006 Crooks & Nannies, downtown art space, Waymouth Street, Adelaide SA
2001 Hatched, National Graduate Show, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth, WA
2005 Ruth Tuck Scholarship, South Australian Youth Arts Board, Australia
2002 Artists-in-studios, South Australian Youth Arts Board, Adelaide, Australia
  Bull, Chris, ‘Local ‘Talente’ exhibits work in Munich’, Helpmann Academy Update, March 2009, p. 8.
  Dunt, Nerina, ‘Craft’n Disaster: Sera Waters’, Object, issue 59, October 2009, p. 58.
  Clifton, Catherine, ‘All Stitched up’, Adelaide Matters, issue 107, February 2009, pp. 28-29.
  Hart, Jenny, ‘Sera Waters’, Embroidery as Art blog, Jan 12, 2010
  Hemmings, Dr Jessica, ‘The Dark Side’, embroidery (UK), vol. 60, Sept/Oct 2009, pp. 24-27.
  Kemp, Jemima, ‘During the South Australian Living Artists Festival’, Point Blank, Point 3, 09/08.
  Radok, Stephanie, Filling an extraordinary space, The Adelaide Review, no 253, September 28, 2004, pp 20-21
  Zeplin, Dr Pamela, ‘Sera Waters: Crooks & Nannies’, Craft Culture online, Craft Victoria, 2007
2010-current Studio member of The Incinerator, Thebarton
2007-2009 Peer Assessment Panel, Arts SA
2007 Key note speaker, SALA Festival, Art Gallery of South Australia
2005-current Committee Member on Adelaide Visual Arts Critic Circle, since Nov 2005.
2005-current Lecturing and tutoring in Art History in Art History Department (Adelaide University), Adelaide Central School of Art and South Australian School of Art (University of South Australia).
2005-current Studio member of Hedgemaze, Port Adelaide
2005 Project Assistant, Tatsuo Miyajima residency, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia
2004 – current Arts writer for local and national publications and catalogues
  The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, University of Western Australia
  Private Collections, South Australia and New South Wales, Australia



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