Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Candy Barnes

About my work

My faith is vitally important to me, and I greatly value my religious freedom. I want the same freedom for every person. It is heartbreaking to see people being victims of hatred and fear-based treatment due to others’ intolerance and ignorance of this human right. 

I used a tablecloth embroidered by my grandmother. It seemed appropriate, because my grandmother’s grandparents came to Australia to escape religious persecution. My grandmother won prizes for her needlework, a fact I discovered only after her death. By including her embroidery, I felt I was collaborating with her younger self. 

The original piece featured a floral arrangement in a bowl. I added a flipped-open silhouette to represent an open mind, free to blossom, unrestricted by discrimination and prejudice. I hope viewers will evaluate their treatment of others of different faiths. I hope they will also reflect on their own beliefs, and question if they are allowing their minds to blossom and thrive. 

- Candy Barnes

Candy Barnes

About me

Candy Barnes is an Australian stitcher who loves to explore hand-stitching in many forms, including hand-quilting, embroidery, visible mending, sashiko and boro-stitching, hand-piecing and English paper-piecing and textile collage. She lives with her husband and three children in sunny Brisbane. She has a background in psychology and counselling. 

Candy began stitching as a child, taught by her mother whose specialty was cross-stitch. During her university study, she explored and experimented with embroidery on clothes, visible mending and upcycling as a hobby and a method of sustainable fashion. 

Laying embroidery aside for several years, Candy returned to it after having children, as a way to express herself and recover from post-traumatic stress after a difficult birthing experience. She is fascinated by the power of hand-stitching as a way of releasing emotional stress and trauma. Candy believes in the therapeutic quality of creating in general, and hand-stitching in particular, and is currently exploring meditative stitching and the benefits of it on her chronic illnesses and stress management. 

The portable nature of handiwork, along with the therapeutic aspects, inspire Candy to dream of new ways that she can use this form of creativity as a way to create a safe place of connection and welcome for refugees and other people new to Australia. She is thrilled to be involved with this craftivism project, and hopes to participate in more collaborative and individual craftivism projects in the future. 

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