• jeffers1972

Making it together...

I was in England for Christmas. One of my grand-daughter's presents was a duvet cover featuring owls and foxes, so for something to do I suggested making an owl cushion. The first pattern I made wasn't quite right, so we made another, which worked much better...so we made another owl..then we made a fox. Initially not confident about sewing on buttons, by the third one she was flying it.

She is allowed to use her mother's sewing machine, so stitched some of the straight seams, clipped curves, stuffed the cushions and I showed her how to hand-sew up the opening. Later, I was thinking about skills being passed through the generations. My grandmother, who was born in 1892, taught me to knit, crochet and sew by hand...and I am teaching my granddaughter who was born in 2004. I wonder who taught my grandmother? Her family were very poor; there were apparently a lot of children and at the age of seven she was 'given' to her aunt in Warsaw. From the stories she told us, it was not a happy experience. We'd been to the sewing/knitting/crafts shop at Taverham, where I could easily spend a hundred euros without drawing breath and I'd bought a few bits to play with. I had seen some little fabric houses on Pinterest and made a couple. Once home, I made a few more and found the playing with combinations of fabrics enormously enjoyable...it was hard to stop.
I've no idea what I'll do with them..probably give them away. It's not my design, not my idea, so would it be ethical to sell them? Even if it were, selling them through the local gallery shop, in order to make them a realistic price I'd possibly earn under €30 a day.It made me think about sources for ideas... they don't come from nowhere. It seems that at any one time there is a "look" to designed objects - a style that's in vogue. But what makes one design idea more desirable than others, so that it is copied and starts a new style/look?  In the late 1960's when I was in college designing textiles, I used a wrapping paper as a source for one design and Moroccan henna patterns for another. Before the internet we looked in a wide range of books and magazines...the 60's were big on cellular patterns from nature; some of my ideas were developed from looking at slides of plant cells. Now you go to Google and you have thousands of images, even if they're not all relevant. When making the owls we looked on the internet for ideas, but the pattern was mine. These little houses are a copy, albeit with my own spin on choice of fabrics and shapes. I wonder- has the availability of so much visual material made me lazy? Is it changing the boundaries of ownership of ideas? This is an issue I keep coming back to.

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