Unravelling Women’s Art


A unique overview of women’s textile art production including embroidery, weaving, soft sculpture and more. Includes over 20 interviews with contemporary textile artists, providing insight into their practices, themes and personal motivations.


Available on back-order


Unravelling Women’s Art
P.L. Henderson

The author unpicks the threads that link female textile artists and the arts they produce, revealing a global
and historic patchwork of assorted roles, identities and representations.

Entertaining as well as informative, this book offers a unique overview of female-centric textile art
production including embroidery, weaving, soft sculpture and more.

Includes over 20 interviews with contemporary textile artists, providing fascinating insights into their practices, themes and personal motivation.

Tells us:

How knitting became a spying device in wartime

Why dress design was so important for the Suffragettes

Why spiders were emblems in ancient times and now

How women’s arts and crafts moved from the backroom to the gallery showroom



Chapter 1 -Textile Art and Representation

Louise Bourgeois, Faith Ringgold, Lin Tianmiao, Elaine Reichek, Kate Westerholt, Ekaterina Penzina, Irem Yazici, Teresa Lim

Chapter 2 – Textile Arts in Indigenous Cultures

Anna Brown Ehlers, Melissa Cody, Janine McAullay Bott, Mata Aho Collective, Xao Yang Lee, Marion Tuu’luq, Britta Marakatt-Labba

Chapter 3 – Nature in Textile Arts

Teresa Lim, Kiki Smith, Moy Mackay, Sophie Standing, Kimika Hara

Chapter 4 – The Politics of Textile Art

Betye Saar, Jae Jarrell, Miriam Schapiro, Judy Chicago, Nancy Youdelman, Gert MacMullin, Thalia Campbell, Betsy Greer, Sarah Corbett, Leah Dixon, Lea McComas, Mireille Honein, Shan Goshorn, Gina Adama, Hayv Kahraman

Chapter 5 – Fashion and Wearable Art

Vivien Westwood, Terese Agnew, Alketa Xhafa-Mripa, Jaime Black, Shelley Niro, Vanessa Paukeigope Jennings, Cindy Sherman, Kate Daudy, Adriana Marmorek, Amal Kenawy, Tracie Peisley, Nike Davies-Okundaye, Xenobia Bailey, Nora Fok, Sylvie Facon

Chapter 6 – Textile Art and Identity

Mona Hatoum, Claire Cunningham, Judith Scott, Wu Tsang, Harmony Hammond, Victoria Udondian, Marinka Masséus

Chapter 7 – Soft Sculpture, Installation and Display

Nabcy Spero, Senga Nengudi, Sheila Hicks, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Dorothy Tanning, Kaarina Kaikkonen, Amanda Browder, Léa Donnan, Mary Sibande, Ghada Amer, Kimsooja, Tracey Emin, Chiharu Shiota, Jeongmoon Choi, Rivane Neuenschwander, Ana Barboza, Joana Vasconcelos

Chapter 8 – Recycling and Environmental Art

Ana Mendieta, Agnes Denes, Nancy Holt, Edith Meusnier, Atefeh Khas, Tara Goodarz, Diana Yevtukh,  Hillary Fayle, Susanna Bauer, Heather Riniker, Bisa Butler, Stacey Sharman, Maura Grace Ambrose, Vanessa Barragão, Jiseon Lee Isbara, Hoda Zarbaf, Karine Jollet, Yin Xiuzhen, Anne Kelly, Elizabeth Morisette, Diana Scherer

Chapter 9 – Miscellaneous, Weird and Wonderful



P.L. Henderson was born in the North of England and in her early career entered the field of environmental work. Her skills in music also led to involvement in the creation of music workshops aimed at empowering girls in economically deprived areas. A personal interest in drawing and also cultural histories, during the years bringing up her son, led to a period of part-time study culminating in gaining a BA in Art History through the Open University. Inspired by feminist art theorist pioneers, P.L. Henderson began an investigation of often invisible women artists, which resulted in the creation of the successful and necessary social media project @womensart1 to platform their work.

Presently living in Lisbon, Portugal with her partner whilst working as a freelance writer, she regularly contributes to publications such as ‘Resurgence & Ecologist’ magazine, ‘Art UK’ and ‘Culture Matters’ on topics of art, ecology and social justice. Whilst having a case study published in the book Feminism and Museums, Intervention, Disruption and Change (2017), she was also one of the writing team for Phaidon’s book Great Women Artists (2019).

She is creator/curator of #WOMENSART, see https://womensartblog.wordpress.com.