The photo is of the first ever piece of quilting to bear my name. Literally in this case as having sewn it in full view of a not insubstantial crowd at the Craft and Stitch show yesterday I was encouraged to sign my name with a fabric pen and then offer it as a contribution to a (very large) quilt that is to be given to the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee. Judging by the number of squares being produced I suspect it will hang on a wall somewhere in Buckingham Palace, rather than being something she snuggles under while watching Corrie, but even so I confess to feeling a bit teary at the thought of this beautiful gift for an elderly lady who has served her job, and her country, well for sixty years. (For reference that is also my response to friends who question my politics...it's about the person not the position)
And the blog title - the only other thing uploaded this morning - refers to the Craft and Stitch show itself. Yesterday's visit was my first, at the invitation of my mum and her delightful friend. Those who know me will of course be familiar with my forays into card making, scrapbooking and knitting, even if the latter consists mostly of a production line of knit one purl one scarves. I thought I knew about crafting and stitching, and that the show would have a ring of the deja vu if not been there done that-edness about it. Let me tell you - I was so wrong.
Ladies - and gentlemen - this is another world. A world of knitting yes, of card making and cross stitch of course. But also of quilting that has produced works of art to rival those in the Tate, of decopatch and decoupage, of beads and banners, shiny sparkly things and wool so light and soft it could only have been produced by a herd of alpaca lovingly looked after in Cambridgeshire...
It would be oh so easy to be cynical or sceptical, to dismiss all of this as tools - or toys - for those who have nothing to do but lunch and leisure. As one of the stallholders said to me "I get to play all day - and it is wonderful". So tempting to turn one's nose up ever so slightly and retreat to the "real" world of the office, of sitting in front of a screen, checking emails, attending meetings, printing papers, reading reports, grabbing overpriced coffee and sandwiches, spending up to three hours - or more - crammed on the tube, eating dinner then collapsing exhausted into bed ready to start all over again tomorrow.
Of course the pay off for such a life - literally - is the cheque at the end of the month. But redundancy has a funny way of forcing you to reflect - after the shock, denial, guilt and anger have diminished - and it is possible to begin to view such a life as the one W.H.Davies was describing when he wrote, "A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare."
No easy answers tonight. I'm definitely not criticising or standing in judgement on anyone whether they choose to work in the home, the office, some other workplace or not at all. It's not for me to judge and I know from experience on Twitter this week that taking a controversial stance can lead to abuse I neither want or need over this subject which I am still thinking through.
In some ways this blog is like a diary, but as I recently said to someone who keeps their own handwritten journals, I do not live with the fear of it being found and read - it's already out there. It's also useful writing "practice" and for someone who wants to Write. Bake. Create. it is probably a necessity. In some ways Friday's revelation filled in the final point of the triangle - I have no doubt of my need to write, ability to bake and desire to create. But as I mentioned in passing I have actually put the "c" word into practice today in the making of the decopatch boxes and crazy embellished scarf.
More photos to follow, along with exciting news of publication of my first piece in local news magazine. Please comment - love to hear your views!