WILLEMIEN DE VILLIERS
Willemien is a multi-disciplinary artist who mainly uses needle and thread to create visual narratives that explore current feminist themes.
Other mediums include painting (oil on canvas) and ceramics.
Her work is exhibited widely in South Africa.
She is a published author of two novels – Kitchen Casualties (Jacana, 2003) and Virgin in the Treehouse (Jacana, 2007) as well as several short stories.
She lives and works in Muizenberg, Cape Town.
Links to articles, publications and interviews:
Work included in the following publications:
De Fil en Aiguille: La broderie dans l’art contemporain by Charlotte Vannier | PYRAMYD 2018
Threads: Contemporary Embroidered Art by Charlotte Vannier | THAMES & HUDSON 2019
Craft Art in South Africa: Creative intersections by Elbé Coetsee |JONATHAN BALL PUBLISHERS
Stitch-Illo: Creative expressions through thread and textiles | UPPERCASE MAGAZINE
A major theme of my stitched textile work is an intimate and personal investigation of patriarchy and toxic masculinity as a contributing factor in domestic violence, while at the same time celebrating the innate, fecund and deeply creative qualities of female-ness. My lifelong obsession with the interconnection of all living things, especially in evidence when comparing the morphology of flowering plants with the reproductive cycles and organs of mammals, is a constant inspiration.
By (ab)using old and often stained domestic textiles like vintage tea tray cloths (whose printed motifs more than hint at bucolic domesticity), I transcend and subvert the traditional idea of embroidery as women’s work.
My current body of work looks at the all-pervasive and often invisible pressure on specifically women to do better, strive harder, be more competitive and ambitious, in order to fit into the male-oriented view of society. The working title for this new body of work is Try Harder.
I’m aiming to create a highly textured mapping of failure; to create small visual representations of not-good-enough – a visceral attempt to reclaim the messy and often disorderly terrain that is an integral part of being female.
Another Day. Hand-stitched with cotton thread on vintage domestic linen. 57cm x 41cm. (framed). 2018
Another Day. Hand-stitched with cotton thread on vintage domestic linen. 57cm x 41cm. (framed). 2018 (Detail)
Currently on Auction
Cell. Hand-stitched with cotton thread on vintage domestic linen. 42cm x 42cm. (framed). 2018