The last event I ran as part of the residency took place on 31st March and unusually for me, involved poetry. I worked with Deborah Tyler-Bennett, a well known local poet and creative writing tutor to run a session for Women Who Write, a group from Wolverhampton. The session was an experimental one, combining practical textile work and writing exercises. The idea was to use my work as a maker as the inspiration for creative writing. I talked about my work, where I get ideas from, the process of working, why I love textiles, why I do what I do. The group then tried out some fabric manipulation techniques and there was some further discussion interspersed with writing exercises from Deborah. The session was very informal and relaxed and thoroughly enjoyable for all involved.
These are some of the works created during the session and afterwards. I love how the writers each took different things from the discussion and how some are about other people sewing and some about me! It was a strange thing to have poems written about me, but I was very flattered as well.
‘The last thing I need is another dress’
But she does not hear –
She pulls me and strips me
Covers me in a heavy black velvet dress
with a crimped hem that hovers suspiciously above my
I scratch at the waist as she spins me around,
to admire her creation
She pulls my hair into a lopsided ponytail,
and with pins in her mouth, she lisps
‘You look fit for a ball’
And this time I say nothing
To know me
To be me
You must hold me
And feel me
You want me
I’ve got an old jumper I no longer wear
It’s hard to get rid of, because I still care,
And charity shops won’t accept it – it’s threadbare.
It’s comforted me through thick and through thin
So I think I’ll hotwash it – in the machine
It’ll still comfort me when its made into a cushion!
One handmade handbag lined in orange silk,
full of good intentions, viz:-
A lettuce leaf
A must-do list
An early night
A stitch in time
A bathing cap
An empty diary
A packet of French letters
A wedding vow
A leopard’s spot
A pie-crust promise
A clutch of dragon’s teeth.
I made this for you, my child.
See how the fabric flows,
Shining, reflecting the light,
You will never see.
Fine lace, so many yards.
Pink ribbons with silver threads.
Rainbow memories of happy futures.
Your stay with us was brief.
I watched you slip away,
Weeks and you were gone.
A wonderful baptismal gown
For a child who is no more.
Grandma’s tray cloth
Grandma’s linen tray cloth,
Fine and white
Garden flowers blooming
On fragile, work aged knees,
Cheer her solitary meal.
On Receiving a Work of Art (Box Pleat)
A strip of calico, all loops and whorls,
the fabric folded back upon itself,
just like a bud, a pouted kiss, not neat
but sloppy with its stitches fat and thin.
A baby’s kiss, received with love for this:
The frown of effort on her face, as she
manipulates the coarse and fraying cloth,
her fingers smeared with jam and glue. And blood
(the needle small, too sharp; not small enough).
The messy browns, like poster paint, remain,
To show where little fingers worked, a kiss
without a thimble; tiny thing that will
not last. The truest work of art I’ve made.
It’s lovely dear. Thank you so much. That said,
I’m sorry but it won’t stick on the fridge.
Best in Show
In her studio
she unwinds the rosette,
uncoils this ribbon fossil,
salvaged from a charity shop.
She unpicks threads.
She unmakes pleats.
are snipped off ribbon ends.
She irons flat the faded silks
to reinvent, rework, remake
At the gallery
her new piece
next to a red dot.
For two hundred pounds
to a man who values the aesthetics
but fails to understand
why she’s called it,
‘Novice Championship –
A work of art?
The Remnant Box
Soft shiny silk from a mandarin’s collar,
A yellow cotton bow from a summer dress,
The torn cuff from a blue and white striped shirt,
A piece of faded flowery curtain,
A pocket from denim jeans,
A cream lacy collar
faded like the page of an ancient tome,
The top half of a washed out pink tee-shirt
with WOMEN NEED MEN LIKE in black,
Can a thing of beauty be created from these?
Six pink felt petals
A purple button centre
Six bright pink petals
Six purple lie beside them
Silky soft to touch
A purple button centre
These petals will not wither