Sometimes the wonder of these wee beings who trust themselves into my stitching hands is overwhelming. Each comes giving of their unique essence and I am humbled and honoured to receive them. I realise that to write such things may seem contrived, but I know that they are not my creations, for if they were I would simply be stitching bits of cloth. I would not fall in love with them, nor would they show, tell, and at times command the direction of my needle and paintbrush. My finger tips would not tingle and sometimes tremble and I would not feel astonished each and every time.
Sometimes they come and I feel as if they are just skipping across my palms on their way to where they will become complete with children in their play.
Sometimes though, they tell me their secrets, they surround me with their atmosphere and they awe me with a renewed sense of immense gratitude.
And so it was with the seafarer’s fairest daughter, who came when I was sitting on the beach.
Her head surprisingly did not form so easily, and so I spoke a lot of love and encouragement as I shaped and held, and then when I could see her, I realised that she had wanted this slightly unusual shape, with her upturned little nose.... and long long before I painted it I could see her smile. Her hair too was not a usual choice for a blue sea girl, but she told me she love peaches the frivolity of fancy desserts…. Pavlova reminds her of the waves on which she twirls, when she is not doing the things that seafarer’s daughters must do, when she takes off the protection of shirt and hat and lets her wings flutter free as she dances light, racing with the white horses.
It's not that she does not love her hat, in fact she showed me her hat, which I had been sitting on at the beach while I stitched, she said ‘look!… my hat, it has a wave in the colour of my hair, and some blue too as my sea skin.’
Its not that she does not like the protection of her silk rough weave shirt, stitched almost by herself, or that she is not happy being strong, or doing the things that seafarers do….
It's just that sometimes she likes to barely really be, to become once more as the spray of the sea.
So when it came to forming her body and we found that her skin was a little misfit and I suggested that perhaps I should fix it, she said ‘no, this is me’ and I was concerned, and waited overnight, and then asked again, ‘but you are such a beauty, will it not detract?’ and she said ‘as you can, when you let yourself, see, my beauty is why my skin doesn’t quite fit me.’
Though I knew she was right I felt a need to explain, that this might make it harder for her to find somewhere to be. She in turn reminded me gently that she needs to live with those who can see her.
And I knew that to change her would be to render her lifeless. And so the seafarer’s fairest daughter has reminded me anew, that should my finger tips ever stop listening, only truly listening, the wee folk would stop coming, and I would simply be stitching bits of cloth.