piecing, stitching and drawing on the walls

My work is pretty solitary at the moment so collaborative projects are on hold. This is a post to respond to the times.

Many years back, after a sad separation, I painted a jungle in my hallway. I’m not the best muralist but every stroke of paint gave me the chance to work out how I was feeling. The story it told was about acceptance and growth.

Over time, the jungle got a bit scuffed and tired. The space had always been narrow and not very pleasing, the result of a poor Victorian house conversion. It suddenly suggested walking through a city full of high rise blocks. Over the next few days those blocks rose up over the foliage, rows of bendy buildings each with many empty windows. They needed populating. We started drawing on the walls.


As Covid-19 rages we have a bit of time on our hands and some of us are getting on with a bit of decorating. Ok, you can go tasteful with your Farrow and Ball if you must or you could get out your colours and get creative. You don’t have to please anyone but yourself. Nobody’s coming round to visit, are they? You can paint over it if you don’t like it. Get everyone involved and tell your story on the wall.

Making something for someone is one small way to stay hopeful. Not long agoI made a quilt for a close friend who was unwell, using lots of colourful bits and pieces.


Every stitch gave me the chance to reflect on how important it was that, after our separation some years back (yes, it was that same guy that got me painting the jungle!), we were determined to stay friends.  It can take a long time to make something like the quilt and maybe I made it more for me than for him. I like to think he enjoyed its warmth.

Making helps me to connect with people in my family who developed skills for function and decoration. Maybe these crafts sometimes imprisoned women, stuck with their needlework when men went off to do more adventurous things. But everything’s a bit more fluid now and we can make things on our own terms.

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Like my smock. It should come in handy when I have to do my own farming.


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