Friday, January 25, 2008

New book inspiration

I just bought a new Japanese book: "Quilt Works" by Hitomi Hanaoka. It is full of those lovely taupe handbags that Japanese craft designers do so well, and there are several styles I wouldn't mind having a go at. With well illustrated instructions and metric measurements

they aren't too hard to work out, although there will always be some guesswork, my Japanese language skills being what they are: non-existent! What really got my creative juices going though, was this quilt. There is no pattern, but I just loved the idea. The quilt seems to be made of men's suits and shirts - lots of lovely wool fabric, some shirts, buttons, a tie and even a belt. In the lower right end corner, buttons from these items of clothing are gathered in a little shimmering cloud. Here and there you find little stitched sketches of everyday items from a man's wardrobe and everyday life: a journal, a watch, shoes, slippers, a coat, a shirt... You get the sense that this is a tribute to a man who has meant something special to the quilter. A quiet, subdued tribute to an unassuming man, a husband, father, brother. I read a lot of love in it - hours spent thinking about him, coming up with ideas, gathering material, handstitching and putting it all together into an interesting piece of work. I might be putting too much into it - that's one of the things that may happen when you try to traverse a language barrier. But somehow that's part of the charm too - I don't understand the words, so I can make up my own story about it.

And the thing is that this has inspired me to start planning a quilt as a tribute to a special man in my own life - my grandfather. He was a wonderful man who put a lot of sunshine into my childhood, and once the idea of a special quilt struck me, I was amazed that this has never occured to me before. From the thoughts that have been spinning around in my head the last couple of days I already know that my quilt will end up being very different from this Japanese one - more colours, quotes of thing he used to say, memories of stories he would tell and episodes from the sweet, wonderful and happy times we had, cooking, singing, chatting, travelling... I started talking to my mother about it on the phone today and together we came up with lots of memories of things I might include. While writing this it has dawned upon me that my grandfather has been dead for almost thirty years, and yet he is still part of my everyday life - his love, his ideas and most importantly: his sense of humour is always there inspiring me. I have a feeling that creating this quilt will be a slow process, but one I will enjoy a lot.

No comments :