Sunday, 8 June 2008

pieces of my mother

Last week Sylve went home to Dad's house for the weekend, and came back with some birthday presents for me. Some lovely ceramic rice bowls, and a glass butter dish - all second hand, and really beautiful, already being used lots in our house. And all wrapped so specially - everyone in my family is great at wrapping presents, but the way my Dad wrapped these surprised and pleased me. Some lovely lace ribbon that he found in my Mum's things - he still keeps pulling things out slowly, bit by bit and sharing her things around with us all.

After I opened these, Sylve presented me with a bundle of maroony-red fabric. Slowly unfolding it - some pieces of my Mother. A quilt that she was making, working on over years - I imagine. Hand-stitching little scraps of colour together. Using fabric that had had another life somewhere else in her life. Pieces of my Dad's lungi; scraps from my Mum's worn and used sarongs; left over fabric from the tails coat my Mum and I made for my brother's year twelve formal (that's a whole story on it's own!); here and there, pieces that I remember from coats and dresses and bedspreads and lengths of material my Mum owned, pieces that permeated my childhood - vague memories mostly.

(I love this one best, I think. That peachy silk next to the green turquiouse one).

Put together in a haphazard manner - which is who my Mum was, how she was. Colour on colour on pattern on texture - mixing and matching and merging. Hit and miss - yet always my Mum, unforgettably my Mum.
My Mum was vivid, vibrant, colour, warmth, texture, strength, depth, light. Love. Life. In her house, her clothes, her food, her words, her voice, her art (potting, drawing, knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, weaving........), her gardening, her yoga, her stories, her dreams, her wisdom. And, so thankfully, her children.

Hmmm, this post was meant to be about the quilt. And about my anticipation to have the time to sit down and take all those patches and put them together. To piece a quilt that my Mother made. My Dad has given me this honour, this gift, this treasure. I feel so blessed and lucky to have this opportunity to finish what my Mum started. To show her life, to have it in my house, to wrap around myself and my babes. I may need some help and advice (from all you experts) when I finally get to it - and I'll give details when.

(Just look at this cluster and combination of patterns and colours!).

A quilt, we know, is so much more than just about the material, the weave, the fabric, the colour, the stitches. Think of those words, of the numerous meanings for the word fabric of life; weave of existence; material; piecing, patching, stitching things together. We feel that a quilt has a life of it's own, due to the love and energy and attention and care that it's maker imparts on it - deliberately or not. Traditional quilts have names, for a reason; they we made for or by someone, created and developed, and stitched into life and being by a person (a woman).

When I finally lay this out, to look at, and photograph, I said to Sam - this is my Mum, isn't it. And, he agreed. I touched the pieces of scraps of life and memories. And smiled. With tears sitting in the back of my eyes. The way she used some fabrics backwards, liking the reverse print or texture more or differently than the 'correct' side. The way she put reds and maroons and pinks next to each other. And patterns with patterns with patterns. That was the way my Mum dressed.
Thinking about this. I am so like my Mum. My fabric juxtapositions come from her, my want to have an almost clash in the patterns, to try and find that harmony in the mess or loudness or lines and shapes.

I really wish I had some photos to show you, of my Mum. Maybe I will someday. Please read this, written by a dear friend (in our shared blog - that I'm sharing with you for the first time). It reminded me of different things about my Mum, from someone I grew up with, and saw my Mum differently than I did (do).
Okay. Now I will load the photos, and leave it at that. (Excuse the quality, late at night photos).

Thank you Dad, for giving me this most preciousness. Rather than letting is sit and be eaten by mice or insects or mould.

1 comment:

  1. This is so precious. What a lovely gift and process. A treasure.


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