Their Hearts Are In It!


More than 20 members of the Winnipeg Embroiderer’s Guild have participated in an interesting international craft project, “Roses from the Heart”.

Organized by Christina Henri, an Australian conceptual artist, this project aims to get 25,566 handcrafted bonnets to represent the women that were sent to Australia as convicts during the years 1788-1853. The crimes of these women could be as simple as theft of clothing or food, for which they would be sentenced for 7 years. Discover the stories of Australia’s convict women at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site.

The pattern for the bonnets is very simple, and stitchers are matched to names that might have some meaning to them. For instance, the bonnet that was made by Susanne Sulkers, who is also a member of the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library, was for Susan Mathies. In this case, the first names are similar. This bonnet is shown in the photograph at the left, and the exquisite heart detail on the back of this bonnet is shown above. Some of the stitchers chose names that were similar to family names, such as a mother or mother-in-law. A few of the stitchers have looked back into family history to find out whether they might be a descendant of one of these women.

Photos of some of the bonnets can be seen at

The two photographs below show some of the detailed embroidery from bonnets for the “Roses from the Heart” project that were stitched by Dot From, who is also a member of the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library, .

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