My Mum was a very good dressmaker, and she sometimes made things like patchwork quilts and cross stitch tapestries too. Her dresses were wonderful, but the other stuff, by her own admission, was just ‘OK’. I knew why – she could amble into a shop, mentally memorise this season’s dress style and then go home and make it (but better, with nicer buttons). It was awesome. She had a natural confidence, and skill, and flair. She knew what went where and how to build it out of fabric. But when she made a patchwork quilt, she stuck rigidly to the conservative pattern ripped out of the magazine; every hectoring stitch counted and recounted. The end result was… boring. She used to laugh about it, how she’d still be valiantly stitching the ‘Battle of Britain’ cross stitch at the end of time (see what I mean?! I sent it to the jumble sale in the end, with all that steel grey wool, still half finished years later, just to get rid of it).
I deeply dislike being told what to do. Especially if I don’t actually know what I’m doing, which is most of the time. I’m pleased to say these new pictures of my own quirky invention are the epitome of everything I want to do (for now at least!). They’re made from my own lino prints and mono prints, ink, watercolour, paint, oil pastel – whatever came to hand, and probably a few biscuit crumbs.
They symbolise to me everything good in the world: joy and happiness, freedom and fun. That’s a pleasing patchwork to spend a day wrapped up in.
‘Underwater Wednesday’ is available for sale – please follow the link to my Facebook page for more details.