Tuesday, 18 November 2008

memory silk

Varanassi Silk :: memories of my childhood :: of my parents' house :: of good things and pretty things, and displays and styling, and collections.
I brought these pieces of silk home with me, from my last visit to my Dad's house. They are old, and showing their age in many places. The fabric is tearing and slipping into threads; it pulls in my hands and becomes strips of colour and metal.
My Dad bought them on a trip to India many many years ago. I cannot even remember which visit, which year. All I know if that these cloths have been a part of the everyday views of the house I grew up in. Being used as a table throw to cover hand made speaker boxes, or to cover the lovely wooden chests used to store linens and towels and medicines. A cloth itself topped with beads and boxes for trinkets and treasures, wooden or ceramic bowls filled with pieces of ...... life / clutter / things. (I'm sure somewhere I have many photos of these little still lives).
My Dad us clearing out his house, clearing up...
(I cannot quite believe or even admit that five and a half years after my Mother's death, we still have not sorted through her clothing or pieces of jewelery or.... I know the many reasons why it has never happened. Regardless, my Dad is quite ready to have the wasp eaten, mouse nested fabric gone).

Anyway, I have spent the evening sewing this silk into some of my fabric stitched greeting cards. In preparation for our Christmas market at GOMA. What a glorious way to re-use this magical memory-laden fabric. Each one has metal woven through it, gold or silver threads. The greens and pinks and blues aren't nearly as vivid as they were, but they have a richness and depth and tonal qualities as a result of the years of speckled sunlight, or full strength in some spots. Each cut strip I pick up to sew is different; the green is more faded here, or brighter on this piece, the front is more interesting, or the back shows more detail.
Sitting there, at my sewing machine, with the pieces cut ready for sewing on my cards, I feel like I'm selecting a jewel or treasure, turning it over in the light to see which side fits best on the card with the other pieces. Some, still, are tearing under my needle - giving way.
I will take photos of the finished cards tomorrow - much too dark tonight to capture them truly. Here, though, are the pieces sitting in a basket waiting to be chosen and stitched into place. To be remembered by someone else, in a new way. Starting new memories from old thread. I like that.

In other 'news', I have chosen Melissa as my de-lurking post winner. Melissa please email me your address :: ellieabeck (AT) hotmail (DOT) com
I will have a gift in the post for you later this week.
(I'm feeling a little 'friend quiet' lately, as someone who I thought was a good and strong friend has inexplicably withdrawn from our friendship).
Good night friends. xx


  1. Mmmmm a beautiful post. What beautiful patterns. I love silk. And I so love your photos of your children. You capture their joy of living so well.

    Thank you so much for charing!

  2. Heya Ellie,
    loved this post, will try to get to goma to see and feel for myself.
    By the way you are the draw winner this week - the coin purse is yours.
    Where can I send it?

  3. Anonymous9:59 am

    Hey elle. Emotional and beautiful. I too have had strange friend stuff happening. Thought that all stopped after school. Apparently not. Lots of love xxx lea

  4. I was moved by this post. And the fabric is marvellous.


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