The Stuff of Life

Tapestries, quilts, all varieties of textile art showing gardens and seasons and yes, even dementia: I felt like I was looking at threads of my own life, much of what I’ve written about lately. My annual walk through the exhibits and stalls of the Knitting and Stitching Show resonated with me.


Clematis, by Judy Drysdale, inspired by her own garden, is darkly and sparsely represented to emphasize the “delicate, intertwining structure.” The overall effect of “changing light and dark shadows, which produce overlapping images on the wall behind… [provide] the viewer with different perspectives.” I have watched the shadows dance on my own walls and remember the different seasons my garden sees me through, the light and shade of my own life.

IMG_2354A lovely wee sampler by Ann Marie Connolly brings me back to the process of creating that garden: here are some of my snapshots of the steps we took – Garden Makeover: Learning as You GoGardening: from the Ground Up; Building a Garden, Creating a Space; and The Compleat Garden.

Circle of Life: I love this bright rainbow of seasons and villages from the Irish Patchwork Society. I’ve looked at seasons and time recently with Change in the Air and a while back with a weekly photo challenge, Seasons.


Protection, by Jill Flower, is made from shards of fabric she found on the ground and caught in bushes while living in Africa. The bits possibly came from the Community Co-op Farm where local women had built fences of textiles and plastics, in a vain attempt to keep wild animals away from their crops. This is much more beautiful than my post on wild animals.

I had to take a deep breath before I entered Jenni Dutton’s large scale exhibit, The Dementia Darnings. Delicately stitched portraits from photos of her mother, the project was a way of connecting mother and daughter as dementia slowly changed their lives. The detail and the love catches me. Part of my experience with dementia is here.

IMG_2383Palimpsest: not a word you often use, but one that’s in a poem I’ve been working on, Holding Vellum to the Light. In it I look at how the places where we live are a bit like old manuscripts with their histories written underneath what we see now. From the Unravelled exhibit, cotton, silk organza, silk thread, by Brid McCabe.


While I had my lunch I chatted to a woman who told me, in her English accent, of her early years in a village in the west and how she discovered card making, which was not only a craft, but a connection into her community, the foundation of a deep friendship, and a means to building bridges within her town. Early on, the cards led her to another crafter whose cards were bought by Protestant women  “because her husband was Church of Ireland”. My bench-sharer is Catholic, so the Catholic women bought hers, though the two of them have very different styles. They decided to join forces, had a stamp made with both their names on it, and so the women of the town bought cards from whoever they wanted to. Though I haven’t written about religious divides, I am working on a piece about making connections – and it even features crafts. Here is the link to that piece.

And I give you this gorgeous basket of berries from the Irish Guild of Embroiderers (work by Valerie Dunne, Deirdre O’Daly Judge and Debbie Wilson), just because they caught my fancy.


And black and white, just because. From Limerick School of Art and Design #lsadfashiontextiles

2 thoughts on “The Stuff of Life

    1. You know, as I posted this, I was thinking of you, Becky, and meeting you just after you’d been: you were aglow with it all and I was thinking, “What? A wool trade fair?” until you elaborated. 🙂 I think that made me decide to start going about 10 years ago or more. Thank you! And I wish you could go again too.


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