NOSTALGIC POETRY IN TEXTILE ART
Using nostalgic poetry or descriptive language in textile art provides an emotional layering to which the viewer can relate. Examples from both the Natural and Womanhood Collection conjure up memories from my childhood, celebrating everyday chores with old aunties and grandma’s. Simple hand embroidery on a plain panel adds texture and colour. The lettering is child-like in quality and free flowing, providing a rhythm within the flat surface. I use silk threads (reducing skeins to three for a more versatile application on a wide range of fabrics), crochet threads and wool (the thicker the wool the larger the lettering needs to be).
NOSTALGIC POETRY – THE WOMANHOOD COLLECTION – HAND EMBROIDERY IN Textile art
‘Reducing us to simply a heartbeat’ invites the viewer to ‘retreat back to much simpler times’, celebrating ‘a bygone era…steeped from birth in family tradition’, recalling ‘old love letters still to be enjoyed…fine linen and silverware…signatures of our time.’ Patchwork panels are littered with ‘cherished memories, bound up in laughter and aged dreams… enriched by the measure of time’. We can all recall ’embellishments of a life lived’. Snippets of nostalgic poetry allows us to capture the essence of a life in hand embroidery. A variety of pale colours are used to capture the quality of time, enhancing the traditional colour palettes and patterns of faded vintage fabrics.
NOSTALGIC POETRY – THE NATURAL COLLECTION – HAND EMBROIDERY IN Textile art
‘I miss the lively hearing aids’ celebrates fond memories of a time of ‘busy pinnies serving home-made bakes…wispy chins of a bygone age…lipsticks chattering, high pitched squeals…’. Traditional values are embodied in ‘white tablecloths, handmade, decorative lace…linen napkins to be placed…silverware adorning a table laid’ with ‘perfumed roses holding centre stage’. Hand embroidered panels capture beautifully ‘the ticking of time as we embrace the auld folks of Shields’. The simplistic lettering provides a contrast to the patterned panels embellished in vintage buttons, beads and sequins.
‘Pastries folded high to rise’ recalls my sister, Diane, and I baking tasty treats with Grandma. Poetry sets the scene as ‘the buzzing of bees and a lazy blue bottle hum a distant tune as sunshine sparkles and glints it’s way into every single room’. The tradition of a well laid table is celebrated as ‘pink cheeked with oven heat we take our seats to feast upon the delights of a lovely afternoon’. The hand embroidery provides a depth to the flat green panel, with shadows cast in the tension created.
NOSTALGIC POETRY – USING WOOL – HAND EMBROIDERY IN Textile art
‘Climb Inside’ invites the viewer to ‘curl up, lay your head and slide into favourite old nursery rhymes, tattered now and tired, aged, faded with time’. Now ‘return to your child’ and recall your favourite bedtime stories. The thick yellow wool reminds me of English mustard smeared on ham sandwiches. A variation in the size of lettering demonstrates a child learning to read and write.
‘These are the things that make me feel full’ looks at the child welfare system and the laws passed to protect vulnerable children who cannot ‘climb inside a world where angels and fairies dwell’. My own happy childhood of ‘winter nighties truly bold, hot water bottles burning toes’ sets a scene of nurture and warmth, with ‘hair trussed up in rags at night to give you bold new curls’ a traditional technique harking back to the Victorian era. The freedom I had ‘to reign supreme in your domain of makeshift tents and sandcastles’ with ‘fermenting rose petals in jam jars nearby’ is a luxury many children today do not have. Note the contrast between the fine silk pink thread and the thick hairy black wool. The more dense the wool the larger the hand embroidery has to be. The contrasting silk thread presents a more refined childhood with the luxury of play.
NOSTALGIC POETRY – CAPTURING A TIME AND PLACE – HAND EMBROIDERY IN Textile art
‘A spirit untamed’ captures my adventures in the garden, ‘baking mud pies under summer skies…building blocks in bobble socks…carrot tops and flowerpots…’. Hand embroidery in a brown thread (soil) on patterned vintage fabrics represents the long hot summers of the seventies in The North East of England. Combining fabric print, colour and nostalgic poetry captures the essence of a time and place.
I hope you have been inspired by my ‘NOSTALGIC POETRY – HAND EMBROIDERY IN Textile art”. You can explore more poetry by visiting The Natural Collection https://www.ccunningham-textileartist.com and The Womanhood Collection https://ma9798.wixsite.com/ccunningham . Have a go at building your own memories. It is an emotional exercise but very therapeutic. I highly recommend it.