Category Archives: history

Process moving again…

Nearly three years ago I started a process to restore an old trunk which had been in our attic for years.
https://weaversjournal.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/restoration-process/
Battered and dirty it was not good for much, so I set about painting it and re-lining it. I also managed to recreate a drop in drawer for the inside and finished the interior.

And then everything stopped, and it has been sitting in my conservatory, half painted ever since. This week I had tea with a friend who I hadn’t seen for months. She asked me how my trunk was going. Trunk? I realised it had been forgotten…

But I had been accumulating materials for possible solutions to the outside refurbishment. So spurred on by my friend’s enquiry I started work again. I had been collecting fabrics with a theme of writing and creativity for a while. After some long consideration I decided that collaged and quilted panels using some of my fabric stash would work best to cover the lid, as the trunk will hopefully be a repository for some of my written and textile creations. Selecting appropriate words was quite challenging, given the bitty nature of the fabric. And making the panels the right size and shape was tricky, but I am now creating the last piece.
Some days of torrential rain, followed by an unseasonable head cold has meant I have been largely confined to the house for a few days. I was feeling irritable and frustrated at myself as well as the weather. But frustration was eased by the activity – my head and sinuses may still be blocked, but I feel the process of trunk restoration is moving again…
Still a way to go, I’m determined it won’t be another three years before it’s finished!

February 2nd – a clover seed

I read these words by American poet Wendell Berry this morning, before I realised the significance of the date. 

On the second day of February forty-nine years ago, he too was feeling the chill and bleakness of the world. And yet, and yet, in the midst of news of war, violence and death, he walked the unpromising land and sowed seeds for the spring. 

A lovely metaphor of hope for this grey, dismal winter morning. 

February 2, 1968
In the dark of the moon, in flying snow, in the dead of winter,

war spreading, families dying, the world in danger,

I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.

-Wendell Berry

Happy birthday, William! – small stone 29

My little grandson is two years old today. Sadly he is many miles away, so I attempted to sketch him from a photo. Of course in real life he would not be sitting like this for long!! 

My first attempt at painting a real person makes me appreciate all the more that indefinable unique quality that makes each human being who they are. Impossible to capture and only really experienced in their presence. 

Wish you were here, William! 

Family show – small stone 27

I didn’t really want to draw the TV. But I do watch it, and it is a part of my everyday life. So why not acknowledge it as such? Perhaps because it often brings scenarios into my home which I feel are divorced from my every day reality. In my contemplations I want to focus on what is real and tangible in front of me, and I tend to want to avoid difficult or unpleasant aspects of life. 

This last week the TV news has felt more like a film script, and an unpredictable one at that. Executive orders, pronouncements, court rulings, white papers. Protests, prejudice, resignations, anger and fear. The politicians, celebrities and others I see on my TV screen may seem unreal, specious and false. But they are as real as I am, and driven by similar physical, psychological and emotional needs, even though their circumstances may be vastly different. 

Today I watched and sketched a (rather inept!) picture of the TV, as two ordinary human beings met for the first time, watched by millions of other human beings, all with judgements, hopes and needs of their own. And I was reminded that as I watch them and others, I see myself…

I note the obvious differences

between each sort and type,

We are more alike, my friends,

than we are unalike.”

Maya Angelou – Human Family

Long memories – small stone 25

This quirky little trio of elephants stands on the mantle shelf in my living room. Not a family heirloom, they were an impulse car boot purchase a few years ago. They are each cracked, but somehow still charming as they fit snugly together. 

They say elephants have long memories, and with their large brains they have a capacity to remember faces over many years. Sometimes they have been even been known to recognise old friends by their scars

Today I met up with two friends I hadn’t seen for over forty-five years. At school together in our teens, we lost touch. But today the three of us spent an amazing few hours catching up, exchanging memories, happy and sad, and realising just how influential those school days were in forming our attitudes and life experiences since. Thank you for a lovely day, Caroline and Diana. 

Elephants, and old school friends, never forget. 

Empty chair – small stone 24

A rather weird drawing experience this morning. On impulse I got out of the chair I was sitting in, and looked at it, and  decided to sketch it. This is where I have spent many, many hours writing my journal and my blog. This is the chair I have sat on while reading, researching and writing for my Masters in Creative Writing. And this month I have done most of my sketches sitting here. 

An old second hand tub chair draped in a huge Indian shawl throw, given to me by a friend, I have it padded out with two mismatched cushions. One cushion is a patchwork of some of my favourite blue Kaffe Fassett fabrics, which I cut and peiced together with great care. Most days I don’t look at the cushion at all, I just sit on it and squash it out of shape, completely disregarding the time and effort I spent in making it. 

But today I have looked with new eyes at the chair and the cushions which have been supporting me throughout those hours. I noticed the soft folds and subtle shapes of the throw and thought of the friend who gave it to me. I remembered the precision with which I cut the patchwork shapes for the back cushion, and recollected that the seat cushion was a sale bargain from Laura Ashley over thirty years ago. The chair itself was an eBay buy, with a previous life. This incongruous hotchpotch of things from the past, so often unacknowledged and unappreciated, is the trusty place which holds me secure as I sit and contemplate the day. It is far from empty…

Memory chair – small stone 11

This old chair is one of a set of six we have scattered around our house. They belonged to my maternal grandfather, I remember them from when we visited him as children. 

We don’t use them much these days, they are a bit uncomfortable, sagging springs and joints that aren’t as strong as they were. But when I was younger I often sat on them round the tea table with my grandparents. I can remember twiddling the loose spindles on the back, and rubbing the smooth brass studs along the fabric edge, often impatient and wanting to run off and play.  The sun always seemed to be shining through the windows when we stayed with them, although I also remember the excitement of snow when we visited them one Easter.

It’s strange where memories go; this old chair holds many of mine, mainly forgotten until I sat down and drew its shape this morning and found them reappearing like ghosts from the faded velvet covers.