Sera Waters

Where I work

I work in Adelaide, South Australia, and share a studio located high in an incinerator designed by Walter Burley Griffin. The studio is my thinking space whereas most of my stitching gets done on my couch late into the evening, after my children have gone to bed.

What inspired my work

Numerous historical samplers have survived beyond the lives of their makers. ‘Survivalist Sampler’, the first in an ongoing series, began as a way for me to grasp the unprecedented climate change events we are living through and think about how future generations might look back at records of this era. Samplers too ensure textile skills developed over generations are kept active and not forgotten. Survivalist Sampler is how I grapple for a way forward amidst great grief and challenges; it offers hope.

How I made it

Survivalist Sampler is a daily, or every other day, practice. It it a building up of information, diagrams, skills, traditions, or ponderings over months, and records some twists and turns of real life events. There is no plan at the outset, it unfolds alongside life, however does differ remarkably in pace. Survivalist Sampler is stitched at the end of the day, slowly and deliberately as a way to counter the tsunami of information of daily news.

What I am working on

Survivalist Sampler is the first in an ongoing series. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent impossibility of going further with a collaborative version of this idea called ‘Collaborative Prepping’, I have put a call out on Instagram using #survivalistsampler to encourage others to start their own Survivalist Sampler charting their own ventures and thinking through this time. I encourage everyone to make their own Survivalist Sampler to document these times and offer positive pathways through to a better future.


Sera Waters was awarded a Ruth Tuck Scholarship in 2006 to study hand embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework (UK), and since then her art practice has been characterised by a darkly stitched meticulousness. Her embroideries and hand-crafted sculptures dwell within the gaps of Australian histories to examine settler colonial home-making patterns and practices, especially her own genealogical ghostscapes. Major exhibitions include Sappers and Shrapnel at Art Gallery of South Australia (2016), Domestic Arts at ACE Open (2017) and Going Round in Squares at Ararat Gallery TAMA (2019). Waters teaches at Adelaide Central School of Art and is represented by Hugo Michell Gallery


Instagram: @serawaters