Tender Crafts: Workshop

Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London, SE1 0LN
9 Oct 2021, 11am-1pm

An artist-led workshop by Katarzyna Perlak, inviting participants to embroider a handkerchief with their own personally significant motif or message, to archive personal histories, collective memory and cultural etiquette.

This event responds to Perlak’s commission for current exhibition Survey II, Bated Breaths, an installation of embroidered handkerchiefs that each present a different proverb or saying relating to Britain and Poland. Often seen as an article for containing bodily fluids and emotion, the handkerchief also holds many symbolic meanings relating to both personal and communal references. It has been used throughout history as a method of non-verbal communication including as a token of love, as a prop in traditional folk dances and as a decorative accessory. In the 1970s the ‘Handkerchief Code’ – also known as the Hanky Code or Bandana Code – emerged in gay and bisexual communities in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe, enabling individuals to show their sexual preferences by wearing handkerchiefs of different colours.

Jerwood Arts presents this event as part of the Tender Crafts programme for London Craft Week, drawing on Perlak’s, ‘Tender Crafts’ methodology. These events explores the ways in which crafts can be used to revisit and reimagine history from contemporary diasporic, feminist and queer perspectives, and act as a tool for archiving past and present historic moments, intimacy, connection and care. Learn more about the Tender Crafts panel discussion on Saturday 9 October, 2:30-3:30pm at Jerwood Space, here.


This event will last for two hours and offers the chance to learn embroidery skills, it is open to all abilities.

We request that visitors wear masks inside the building for this event unless they are exempt, be considerate of one another’s space and we encourage all visitors to take a Covid-19 test before visiting our galleries at Jerwood Space. The space will be well ventilated and there will be hand sanitiser available on arrival.

There is limited capacity at this event, so we ask that you let us know as soon as possible if you are no longer able to attend. We will run a waiting list for tickets if they sell out and will be in touch if tickets become available in the run up to the event.

This event is free to attend, book now.


We want to make sure that our events programme is welcoming and accessible. Please contact us if you would like to discuss how we can support you to attend and enjoy this event or if you have any feedback on the accessibility of our work. You can contact us via email at gallery@jerwoodarts.org or telephone +44 (0)794 490 3796. Learn more about the access support available, here.

About the artist 

Katarzyna Perlak works in moving image, performance, sound, textiles and installation. Her work is driven by politics and feelings, examining queer subjectivities, migration and the potentiality of affect as a tool for registering and archiving both present, continuous and past historical moments.

Katarzyna is a Polish born artist, based in London. Her background is in Philosophy, which she studied in Poland, and Fine Art Media which she studied at Camberwell College of Arts (2008) and Slade School of Fine Art (2017).  Her films have been shown widely at film festivals across Europe and she was part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2017. She has exhibited internationally, including: Young Curators New Ideas V, Detroit Art Week, Detroit, I was, but just awake, Art Night, London (2019); Tighten Throat and Butterflies, Metal, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2018); A Day of Learning, Diaspora Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale, Venice (2017) and Remote Intimacies, Leslie – Lohman Museum of Arts, New York & ONE Archives, Los Angeles, (2021). katarzynaperlak.com

This event is free to attend: