A question I am often asked is if my grandmother taught me to embroider.
The simple answer is no; but the long answer is much more complicated than that! My gorgeous nan was an avid embroiderer. Able to sit for hours and hours passing away the day with a flick of her wrist and a shower of coloured cotton, my mother tells me her constant refrain, "the back must be the same as the front" would occasionally break the silence which was only punctuated otherwise by the sound of the needle meeting fabric.
But I didn't know her as that. I didn't know the woman who would sit for hours and hours working fabric like moving water between her adept and nimble fingers, for when the grandkids arrived it was all hustle and bustle and no time for such pursuits. There was lemon slice to be made (delicious!) and yabbies to be caught (exciting!)
Only in her much older years did I realise the extent of her hobby. When my mother and I were helping her clean out some cupboards and happened upon mountains of incredible hand embroidered tablecloths and doilies and nick and nacks, did I truly understand the level of her passion for embroidery! And what an amazing discovery! What a treasure trove of colour and texture and absolute gorgeousness! I had to learn myself. I had to be able to replicate this skill.
Many years passed and I bought many embroidery books only to study them for a couple of weeks and then ignore them all together. It wasn't until many years later that I committed to this gorgeous beast in a moment of illness (that's another blog!) and fell quite madly in love with it. And it was made all the sweeter knowing that my grandmother had done this exact same thing.
'The back always the same as the front'.
A piece made by my grandmother beside a piece made by me for my grandmother's 90th birthday this year.