Monday, 30 December 2013

How treasure moments become stitches

Mary Oliver calls us to 'pay attention, be astonished, tell about it'.  Her words resonate deep in me, through each thread of my life. The becoming of every small being who honours my hands is somehow a reflection of those words combined. I am sure that many astonishing moments in my creating slip under my attention to become sensed unknown, sewn in the fold of a cloak or held in the tilt of a curl. Yet, there are other times when I am lucky enough to notice so many beautiful, affirming treasures that I want to tell the story of these moments, with words as well as stitches. This is such a story....

The beginning moments - a connection and a request
It is a really lovely feeling to send a small being to her welcoming home, and to then receive a request for more wee folk. That is how it happened that I was asked to create four dear ones to play out the story of 'Ollie's ski trip' - for a teacher's story telling with her young class. 

The second moment - an invitation 
Usually when I stitch the form of fairies and gnomes, I work in a very fluid way, I do not know before I begin who will become or even what cloths exactly will be incorporated. Even when I am sewing into a pre-decided shape, it would not work for me to attempt to simply imitate the picture - that would result in empty cloth! 
Therefore when I found the book, which we happened to have in French, and looked through it, I offered an invitation to the ether...'Come little ones, this is a special chance to take part in story telling for children, come and play dress up in the clothes and forms of this story.' Rather than using words I said this through a light airy feeling that I let drift into the space around. 

The third, a long moment - waiting and listening 
One afternoon Ollie started to appear. However, despite lots of beautiful birch bark strips pressed and stretched between heavy books we couldn't find skis that were both delicate and strong enough. And so he waited....

The fourth moment, synchronised - flowering stitches  
Then on boxing day evening I began stitching, and a fresh goldenness made a tiny head, and then the flower crown started to grow. It was while stitching petals that the magic needle caught the purple wool from the raised beds, which my sister, who is a gardner, had stitched across the knuckles of the fingerless gloves she had made me for Christmas. I saw that it was the colour of lilac that I had looked for in my bag moments earlier and not found. So I teased a little out and stichted it into the flower crown of this lady spring.

As I did this I was smiling, remembering of our Christmas morning, when my sister and her beloved had opened the fingerless gloves that my girls and I had made them and then we had shared the joy of sisterly synchronicity when I had opened my gift!! and my younger daughter had wondered if we were all making them unknowingly but somehow knowingly at the same time. 

The fifth moment - noticing, responding and noticing 
The request for lady spring had not included her carriage, however when my daughter, saw the illustration she straight away asked me how I was going to make her carriage. When I had explained that I was not, she was restrainedly unimpressed. Then by happenstance someone who had been waiting in a blue sleigh, to be a present, decided to hop in the truck with the others traveling to my nephew's new farmhouse, so leaving an empty sleigh....
If you happen to glance at things in certain lights you glimpse what they are destined to become.

The sixth, poetic moments - serendipity 
There was a need for a special kind of material so that the white butterflies could hold their fluttering wings un-drooping, and after ruffling through shades and textures of white silks, I found myself cutting from cream taffeta, and then becoming aware of the perfect poetry in that these butterflies were flying out of an old wedding dress. 
The wheels of the carriage were a mystery to me until an old camembert box caught my eye. When I opened it up to cut out rounds, long forgotten dried aquilegia trumpets flew everywhere, purple and white, just as the painted flowers that lady spring is sprinkling over the sides of her carriage wheels in the story.

The seventh moment - the spin of a wheel, the return of the seasons
In the edges of the box I had cut, I suddenly saw, Ollies skis!
and he waited with yet more patience while they were made,
and now we are waiting for snow, hoping just like Ollie in the story


  1. So marvelous and magical bringing it all to life! Astonishing , yes!

    1. Thank you as always for taking the time to read and marvel with me

  2. Hello Fairy Lady,
    here in Germany the book is called "Olle bei König Winter" and I know that book very well as it was the favorite book of my son in winter.
    Your puppets are really beautyful. Especially the spring fairy/princess is a wunderful dream.
    She is inspiring me creating a fairy on my own soon.
    Best regards and a happy new year to you and your familiy

    1. Hello again Susi, I'm so glad to know this, please show me your pictures of your creations.
      Wishing you a wonderful New Year

  3. What a wonderful journey for Ollie, beautiful x

  4. Thank you, I love the stories of your little ones too
    wishing you all good things