Thursday, 6 March 2014

Spring in the air, frogs in the hall

Klimt: Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, 1907

Cyril Connolly's infamous assertion that the enemy of creativity (I paraphrase) is the pram in the hall may or may not be true - having no children, who am I to say? But there are numerous other obstacles lurking in the hall, not to mention those that land on the mat through the letterbox, that can trip one up on the way to the sewing machine just as effectively: a stunned frog brought in by the cat; the cat himself, demanding food and needing his claws clipped; a letter containing six forms to be filled in; a dentist's appointment; a ringing telephone; a card saying the parcel of fabrics that you need has gone back to the depot; the recycling box that should have been put out last night; a bag of clothes for the charity shop; muddy Wellington boots. And that's before you've even got as far as the kitchen...

Some obstacles are harder to clamber over than others, and so it has been for the past few months. Which is why when I went to my studio last week, full of excitement, it was for the first time since before Christmas.

I tiptoed in to the studio, so as not to frighten the Beast or wake him up too quickly, then took off his sleeping rug, patted him on the nose and gave him some hay. I hope he was as pleased to see me as I was him. His prolonged winter snooze has done him no harm, and he was soon cantering across the surface of a bed quilt I want to finish before I set up stall again at the Country Living Spring Fair from March 19 to 23. I will be offering big discounts on my website prices to shift some old stock, so look out for a blog before then giving more details and an update of the quilts I currently have for sale.

(My blog posts have been somewhat sparse of late. Coming soon: Cloth of gold part 2; Is there a national fabric?; St Cuthbert's beads; and lots of exhibitions and events - Knitting and Stitching Show, Vikings, Artist's Textiles - that I hope to catch up with now that there's a spring in my step and spring is in the air.)

In the meantime, I have been quietly drawing inspiration from the beautiful portraits of women by Gustav Klimt, some of which I saw recently at the National Gallery. Decked in jewels and sumptuously patterned fabrics, surrounded by flowers, gold and more patterns, their hair or hats suggesting halos, they have been a surprising inspiration for the depiction of saints in one of my ongoing projects. Colour, pattern: I can't get enough of either.


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