As Christmas approaches, I attend to jobs that need finishing in order for me to complete my gift-giving. My sewing machine had long needed a service; it’s almost as old as me. But even old things can still be good (yeah!), and my machine is a good example. What stories it could tell… from sewing baby clothes to teenagers’ dresses, to shorts and shirts for my son, until he learned to sew on my machine and made baggy shorts for himself, and covers for his surfboard.
With presents in mind I bought fabric to make art aprons for my granddaughters. I first washed the material to remove the dressing; a must if the cotton is to be pliable when sewing. As the fabric dries, my thoughts wander back to when my sister and I were young, and we would sit, cutting fabric and sewing endless outfits for our Walkie-Talkie dolls. It was a great way to learn. Measurements, for example, when we had forgotten to take in the curve of the round tummies on our dolls and the jacket, or dress would only touch at the neck and V out to the waist. It was the beginning of a lifetime of sewing, art and craftwork for us both; thanks to our parents showing us their skills.
Two of my granddaughters came to stay last week, and although they didn’t get to stitch anything this time, they made paper clothes for their new toy lambs. They cut, coloured and pasted hats, bags and shoes and showed off the animals in their finery, just as my sister and I had ‘walked’ our well-dressed dolls in front of our parents.
Later, I sat the girls in my studio with art pads and pencils. Phemie, who is keen on reading Graphic novels, decided to make one of her own, while Beatrix wished to draw ‘Body parts’. Their artwork is as unique as they are. Beatrix, just seven, deliberately tried for a 3D effect, placing the head back from the close-up hands. And Phemie, wrote a comical story; succinct and clever, about an orange wishing to explore the world.
And as I watched them working away, I wondered whether they would continue with their drawing and craft, perhaps, with luck, passing on their ideas and creative skills to their own children and grandchildren. I certainly know that I have loved sharing my knowledge with them. But in turn they have shown me their particular approaches to art. Maybe, one day, I’ll have a go at writing a Graphic novel. It looks like great fun.