Mother’s day. This photograph of my Mum, taken by Charles, is my favourite image of a very special person. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t think of her.
My mother was a huge influence in my life. Her childlike delight in discovering a new flower in bloom was contagious. She would take me by the hand to show me a hidden treasure – a cluster of white violets under the linden trees that lined the avenue to Stowe School. Our home was built at the side of the second Stowe avenue. It was my mother who taught me to knit, crochet and embroider. She did not like machine sewing much – she found it tiresome. But she always had something creative for the evenings – sitting quietly by the fire with what she called ‘organised fidgeting. A phrase that I too use when doing creative ‘stuff’ while the television is on in the background.
It was my mother who found an advertisement for a postal course in textile design in a magazine – perhaps The Lady which she shared with her friend Nora. My mother thought I would be good at this art form because I loved drawing flowers. I only did a couple of the exercises and only remember one comment that one should veer away from designers like William Morris. I knew nothing about him and when I went to the local library and found out about his art I was smitten.
I didn’t do anything with textile art until years later but my mother just knew that was where I was meant to be. She was like that – a gentle, funny, wise and unassuming woman who always put others first. So the flowers that I am painting for our summer house in the following post are a tribute to my mother.