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.


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.



Collecting vs hoarding: when is enough enough?

I’m a bit of a clutterbug, I love stuff…. not so much in a materialistic sense, but more for appreciation…

I particularly like old stuff, it has a story, it has had past lives and has had possibly many relationships to many people long before my relationship with it began.
I also like different stuff together, creating relationships between things by putting them together… showing whole other perspectives of each than if they just stood alone…. kind of like creating little worlds, a still life using stuff…. and really we all do this all the time.

But from time to time I look around at home and realise that I’m surrounded by a bit too much ‘noise’ and the whole thing has become a big crowd that prevents appreciation of individual things….
so yesterday I had a bit of a cull in the lounge and I realised that with quite a lot of things, I like them when they’re in a crowd but not individually… so they’re out!
I often see pictures of minimal spaces and think that they look stunning and so calm and wonder why and how I always end up living in what resembles an antiques and curiosities shop.

They say you should get rid of anything that you don’t find beautiful or useful (I would add meaningful to this though)…. the trouble is that soooo much stuff is beautiful and meaningful in different ways… years ago if I found a beautiful or meaningful object I HAD to have it, now I’m more able to be happy that I’ve seen it and to know that it exists in the world (and Pinterest helps of course :) I can virtually collect.)
…. maybe also as I get older I’m more able to feel that I have enough, that there is enough that’s beautiful and meaningful inside so I don’t need to collect and surround myself with such things…. don’t get me wrong I don’t think I’ll convert to minimalism anytime soon :) …… but I might be more inclined to edit my space, let things go and let the beautiful and meaningful have room to be.
That said, I’m visiting a new antique shop I’ve found this afternoon! I’ll let you know if I find any treasures :)