Entries in craft (2)


quietly busy


Joel stayed off school today and we had a quietly busy morning of making. While he constructed a submarine and a space explorer out of boxes and tape, I made a pile of notecards out of images torn from magazines. It's so satisfying to have a stack of cards ready to go. I'm notoriously bad at making and returning phone calls: I much prefer to send a few words by mail and talk in person. My rationale is that I gesticulate too much to make the phone a natural means of communication for me.

Still creatively energised and seeing my cards scattered over the table, Joel then papered over an empty IKEA biscuit box to act as a little desk storage box for my cards, envelopes and address book. I love the rather Moroccan theme and now I really have no excuse for non-communication.

I also finally wrapped up a pretty Old Navy dress I found for my god-daughter Rosa. And, oh the feeling of being so organised, I slipped in one of my new cards to say hello.

A bit of moussaka making is now on the cards. I haven't cooked it for ages and it feels rather seventies. Perhaps I should slip on my kaftan? I unearthed an embroidered jewel-blue Antik Batik in a tatty thrift shop and was thrilled with my find. The only problem is, I keep catching the pockets on our door handles, tearing the pockets a little every time and pinging backwards with a start and a cry. Not entirely sure I'm in the mood for that and the weather isn't very Greek, so I'll put on my vaguely Nana Mouskouri-esque glasses and leave it at that.


big smoke

I stepped onto London's South Bank to find myself at the seaside. Beach-huts, bunting, even a strip of sand. A very short strip - not quite the Paris city beach experience. Enough for a toddler or two, but not a sun lounger. Anyway. There was a general perkiness about the place; perhaps we were temporarily stunned by the colour scattered amongst the brutalist architecture, and by seeing both sun and blue sky for the first time in a while. 

After lunch with a friend I haven't seen in too long a time, I headed to the Hayward Gallery to see the Tracey Emin exhibition Love is What You Want. It steps away from many of the infamous pieces that have been featured so frequently and instead shows quieter, more crafted but still acutely personal works. What I returned to over and again were the large-scale sewn drawings. The juxtaposition of the beautifully finished stitching with the aching acuity of the emotions the drawings described, gave the pieces a real power. Worked onto fine, cool, vintage sheeting or blankets, some were given an unexpected, vivid and lovely scattering of applique flowers that I longed to try at home.

I found myself thinking of them in the context of the generations of women for whom sewing was, variously, a means of making a living; a solace; a necessary social skill. And I wondered at the emotions that were stitched into the fabrics I sometimes find discarded in thrift shops, or gaze at in awe in museums. Emin acknowledges this tradition, and the role of craft in her work, in an interesting Radio 4 interview

Too soon, it was time to bolt for the station. And no matter how much I enjoy my days in London, I always love to catch the train away. I lived in London for several years and have so many memories associated with it. But now, when I come home to my little house, step through my gate and hear .... nothing, except birdsong, I feel - to quote Sinatra - that yes, it's so much nicer to come home.