Friday, 3 December 2010

Henry James

Henry James newly arrived on 15th November to Abi and James, in Reno Nevada -- our first grandchild.

We have been anticipating the arrival of dear Henry since our visit to America earlier in the year, knowing his sex and names long before his size was of any consequence. On this side of the Atlantic some serious quilt designing and making began, with much adjusting too. The quilt's now finished, taking endlessly longer than I ever imagined. Raymond Carver's poem "Late Fragment" was perfect for the dedication on the back. Very soon we're off to America to meet Henry for the first time and deliver our gift.

Inspirations and Distractions

What a wonderful resource "Womans Hour" can be. Without it I would not have found out about Anne Tree's death in August. She founded the charity Fine Cell Work, which allows prisoners (male and Female) to engage in the skilled and engrossing work of making artefacts -- cushion covers, rugs, wall hangings -- enabling them to earn a decent wage and help ease their pathway back in to the family and community. Do take a look at the story for yourself.

The same radio source also brought me this story of needle power. In County Down an exhibition of bonnets is to be held, each piece of stitchery commemorates the name of a female convict. The vast majority of these women's crimes was stealing food for their families.

It can be all to easy to sentimentalise the past, but nothing has touched me so much in a long time as the tokens left by mothers with their babies. Imagine the tiny transparent bonnet dating back to 1753, the only tangible link of one such babe to its mother. An exhibition of tokens, "Threads of Meaning is being held until 6th March 2011 at the Foundlings' Museum.