Saturday, 19 April 2008

Embroidered tablecloth

Still extremely busy, so more old work to show you.

This was the second part of my degree show. It centred around an embroidered tablecloth, that was left to me by mother. She died when I was 10 years old, of a brain tumour. Whilst lying in her hospital bed, she started to embroider a tablecloth, this was her first attempt at embroidery.
Needless to say it was never finished.

I was then fostered out to an Aunt, but when i was 18 years old, i ran away, to go and live with my now husband and his Father. The embroidered tablecloth was left behind.

Years later, looking in Charity shops, i would see other discarded tablecloths being sold for 50p. This really upset me, as these tablecloths would have been lovingly embroidered by someone's Mother, especially to adorn her beloved family home, only to be given away and sold for pennies.

Here is a scan of a back of a tablecloth, which shows the great care women took to make the back of the cloth look just as good as the front.

So for my show, i bought a cloth, and systematically removed all the embroidered stitches, leaving the holes where the needle had passed through.
This was placed on a large light box, so the holes could be seen, and with tiny little traces of the silk cotton showing here and there.

Here is a scan of a scan of part of a cloth with its embroidery removed. not a brilliant picture i'm afraid

As well as the light box, i also used a tablecloth to make and cover recipe books. As a child, i can remember my Mother baking egg custards for anyone who was taken ill, and myself having to deliver the custard to the sick person. This is even though she was seriously ill herself.

Here are just 3 sections of one book that i made, and had covered with a cloth.
The stains are to represent the impossible dream of perfection.

I made or altered about 10 books in total, most of them with recipes that were personal to my mother.

Here is a poem that i wrote at the time.

by Margaret Field

Caress the skin that sheds itself upon the once nimble fingers of desire.

Embellish the cloth as a token of your love,
reflecting the dreams amongst the linen.

Piercing, where the tender silks once
toiled themselves through the holes of adoration,
tearing us apart.

Leaving behind a trace of a Mother’s love.


Maureen said...

Lovely Margaret - I have a very large tablecloth with nearly identical pattern that my mother embroidered. - maureen x

Jan said...

This is such a poignant story Margaret - it made me feel very sad but also it is beautiful the way you have turned everything around to make the book covers, to create the poem and to ensure that some of it at least lives on.
My mother, and stepmother also made these wonderful tablecloths and I am lucky to have some with me - which I treasure and still use.

Jinny said...

Lovely poem and excellent tableclot-looks like too much hard work for me lovie


Thankyou ladies for your kind comments. it was a very emotional experience doing this work, but like you said Jan, something to look back and hold.