Illusions of depth. Dive deep into the fabric of the craft. Explore. Follow the patterns as they meander across the cloth, joining into closed shapes sometimes and at other times becoming pathways to infinite worlds.
Each cloth – each stitch – has a unique story. As I sort through them with my mother the room fills with the warmth of memories, the glow of friendships, the soul of a life which has experienced much. To call this activity a pleasure is a severe understatement. It is an honour to spend this unrushed and singly-focused time with my mother: my protector and guide for so many years.
I revel in the designs of each piece and marvel at the quality. These are Quality Personified, from a time when women had the time (and made the time) to spend on their handcrafts, purposefully selecting backing materials and threads of varying colours, then capturing their love and care within each and every stitch. These artefacts were made fifty or more years ago – yet they look as fresh as if they were finished yesterday. (The absence of inferior cheap materials and threads that swarm the market these days is evident.)
The patterns look like blueprints of the wonderful geothermal spas on the Swiss-German border I’ve had the pleasure of swimming in. On a cold, cold winter’s day with crisp air and sunshine not strong enough to melt the snow it brightens just metres away, bodies are warm in the naturally-heated spring water encapsulated into pools of different sizes. The outer and inner effects of this natural environment is a sensory heaven.
Move from this section with the built-in seats and the bubbles floating up behind us to that section with the whirlpool; then on again to the section with still water which is a little cooler. Over there someone is doing lazy breaststroke in a slow and measured way, moving from one section to the other. Some children are playing under the fountains of water as they spurt up and capture rainbows in their arc.
So dive deep into this marvellous craftwork as I submerged myself in nature, thrilling at the hot waters on a cold day.
Honour the past in the present and take it forward into the future.