Pattern and process; making and meditation.

My very earliest memory is fleeting and hazy like a dream…. I was stood by a front door and my big brother was turning to walk away down the hall…. but the most vivid part of the memory is as clear as day, the pattern on his little sleeveless jumper…. it was navy blue with pinkish purple vertical rectangles that kind of over lapped and blended in together (a bit like the upholstery on old-school bus seats)…. I must have been two or three and thirty odd years on I can picture it like it was here in front of me.

Over the years I can remember lots of patterns that have stuck firmly in my mind…. clothes I had as a child, my turquoise, insanely intricate¬†childhood bedroom carpet, my therapist’s carpet,…. in fact a heck of a lot of carpets! and remembering these patterns takes me briefly into emotions that I experienced at the time…. and it seems the more complex or difficult the emotions, the more vivid and detailed the memory of the pattern.

I’ve often wondered if that’s what draws people to retro and vintage objects… that they evoke emotions experienced in times past…. sometimes comforting, sometimes painful, but all part of our personal process.

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Buddhist mandalas are used as a way of meditating and focusing the mind…. either in creating them or looking at them…. and I wonder if we use other patterns in the same way without ever realising it….. the lines and colours, the shapes and repetition give our senses something to focus on and some grounding that allows our emotions to wander contained.

Who’d have thought that a bit of Hornsea pottery on your kitchen table would help you manage your feelings whilst being told off for not eating your greens!? But I think it probably did…..

Recently I bought a job lot of old Swedish tapestries…. I know the old lady that I bought them from had a huge collection, but I don’t know if she made them all herself or for how long she had them….. her daughter was selling them for her as she was moving into a care home…. and when I look at them I wonder what the daughter’s relationship to them was…. were they like familiar old friends that had been there as she had grown up…..

and when I think about all the work that went into each one (I bought five,,, but there were many more) I wonder what processes each tapestry saw through with their maker…. what feelings were given a space a wander while each stitch came together and what comfort was drawn from the repetition of the stitch, of the pattern and in the final sigh when the piece was finished.

I hope that I can give these tapestries the home they deserve and I wonder what processes they will see me through when my eyes rest on them hanging there.

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Tribal vibes

So I don’t really like the terms ‘tribal’ and ‘ethnic’ when describing styles… all sounds a bit imperialist to me…
.. But whether it’s the heat wave we’ve been enjoying, my revisiting of lots of my old stuff in the storage attic upstairs (or ‘Stockholm’ as it came to be known) or just because I’m a plain fashion victim… which ever, I’m currently revisiting an old love of traditional cultural stuff from all over the globe.
I’ve got lots of amazing fabrics, trinkets, drums, masks… you name it, it’ll be in a box upstairs in Stockholm…..

I’m particularly excited by all the jewellery… African trade beads, Ethiopian silver, Indian necklaces with bells… I loved my jewellery collection in my teens and twenties, but then it seemed to fall out of my favour somehow….

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but finding it all again is so exciting and I’ve been wearing it, using it to decorate the house and loving it…

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well done younger me for being such a source of inspiration to older, now me :)
it’s like shopping, but it’s already mine!

summer crochet

with the sun blazing and every window in the place open, the last thing I want to be doing is working with wool, as much as I do love my chunky, handspuns.

As I’m working in a new city I’ve been seeking out new places to buy yarn and I’ve found two amazing places. One sells gorgeous cream Yorkshire wool that I’m looking forward to getting when the leaves start to fall… but for now I’m using a cotton yarn (that coincidently was spun in my hometown.)

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Ivory lace squares with very pale grey edges and when it’s done a grey lace border….
I’m crocheting on the commute every day, so I’m trying for a square a day that makes a row a week…. and working on squares means I don’t have to carry an ever increasing blanket around with me :)
I’ll show you when it’s finally done…. what’s your summer project?

The bestest bestie

Last week lovely bestie C came back after a long trip in the US…. I was very pleased to catch up over a gorgeous Indian meal to celebrate my new job… Yums!
And he brought presents too!
A gorgeous bunny tile (that’s been added to the group of lovely things on the lounge wall), a letter press card of an heirloom tomato soup recipe (to be framed and hung in the kitchen) and this gorgeous handspun alpaca yarn

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And I decided to make myself a special bear :)

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I love that bear! I can’t decide what to call him though…. Any suggestions?
How lovely?! I really do have the bestest bestie :)

Unexpected brooch!

I had intended to make lots of motifs to use in a proper piece of Irish crochet lace…. but I think I got impatient or something and this happened instead…

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…. a brooch with a vintage jet button centre!
I really like it I think… and it might look nice on my little summer jacket.
So I’ll start again making motifs… I think I’ll aim for a cushion cover this time and see what happens :)