Thursday, 3 January 2013

Kimono + Crochet (Blue)

So, after entering the bedroom looking round to the left hand side now, following the wall we have something that I enjoy looking at a lot - a hand painted silk kimono, hung on a bamboo pole on the wall. I don't wear it, as I like to admire it this way instead. You may also recognise the wooden shelf unit (from the studio in an earlier post) which is much more suited to being up here in the bedroom - I think it also takes on quite an eastern appearance being in close proximity with the kimono! There are quite a few different items on the shelves now that weren't there before - wondering if I should do a few close-ups if there's anything you'd like to see a little better?

Ok, here are a few close up pics from the shelves:

50's belt buckle

'Cures' Key, Japanese Tin, Luke's Plate

'B' ring, Taiwanese Shell

Recipe & Red Riding Hood Books, Strange Rabbit Ornament

Small Metal Box, Portrait Postcard

Plasters Tin, Wind-up Bird, Ginko Postacrd

Crochet (some of the Blue ones are my favourites)

In the ottoman below the shelf are lots of crochet doilies which I have acquired from a few different places - an amazing charity shop in Denmark had some lovely ones, and over here ... well, I've bought them from various ladies at craft stall and charity shops, and been crocheted some especially too. Some are made by hands that are no longer here.
They are testament to a believed lost craft, but with a recent resurgence of 'the handmade', there are many new crochet blankets and doilies in the shops again, if you look carefully.

(I laid the doilies on the washing basket near the bedroom window to take this photo, as it was a little too dark for the colours to shine, over the other side of the room, on the ottoman today)


  1. The bedroom seems to have a very peaceful appearance, and I like the traditional way of displaying the kimono. It's interesting to see the re-housed shelf unit, I only recognise a couple of items from its previous location* – the tin is a nice visual link to the kimono. I suppose the re-emergence of objects and furniture is a testament to the time it has taken to tour our homes. I have also replaced and re-situated things since we began; perhaps once we have concluded the blog we should start all over again to highlight all the changes that have taken place! In terms of rooms evolving over a short period of time, I’m pretty certain that the homes my grandparents occupied rarely changed from year to year – and probably decade to decade. My maternal grandmothers house – visited more often – is a good example. Her mantle-piece had the same arrangement for my entire life! It consisted of a carriage clock in the centre, to the left was an ornament of a sitting shepherdess (with a mended foot) plus shepherd and sheep, and to the right was an engraved glass goblet commemorating some aspect of Lincoln Cathedral. I cannot imagine living in this way, although it makes me realize how fickle I am in terms of possessions and how much I buy for the house and then disregard.
    *yes more close ups would help.
    Curious about the title - Crochet (blue). Am I missing something?

  2. You are right P - it is peaceful, and as it isn't a big room I wanted it not too visually cluttered. I have (finally)included a few more close up pics of some of the objects - there are a few items that I'd like to discuss in another post, (so have left them out).
    Yes, a testament to time passing as to where objects re-emerge and find a different place to dwell within our homes: and also a testament to how we ourselves change, too.
    I really like your thoughts about your grandmother's mantlepiece not ever changing, and I am amazed that you remember the arrangement - fantastic!
    I remember that too (my paternal grandparents who lived next door), and the feeling of homeliness, belonging and safety that it gave me amongst my ever changing thoughts, growing up, trying to deal with life etc. Items would rarely be added - I remember a (quite hideous) lamp that was a gift (for their golden wedding) being quite an occasion, a few items were shifted about (!).
    Items were given less often, were more expensive, and I think probably meant more, sentimentally, back then.
    R.e. Crochet, Blue - not got there yet - will add more photos ... you'll see.

  3. I like the seemingly eclectic nature of these objects, although perhaps you have reasons as to why they are displayed together? and I must admit to a fondness for Strange Rabbit Ornament! I suspect that this (unlike our grandparents) is a more transient display(?) and the calmness you describe in the room is certainly reflected here - unlike my small shelf unit in the office which is crammed and overflowing, evidence in lots of your spaces points towards restraint (in a good way), selectivity and order.
    How interesting that your grandparents lived next door - and although it seems strange to me now, I assume that this was quite a common occurrence at a certain time.

  4. Most of the items are either 'souvenirs' (that I have bought or collected) from places visited, or gifts from friends and loved ones. Strange Rabbit was bought from the small Antiques Centre on the promenade at Lyme Regis. A Student Drawing Day coach trip in February, howling winds and misty rain. I think most of the students went off somewhere warm, drinking coffees and eating chips. Myself and a couple of other Tutors took refuge in the Antiques place - the small rabbit ornament had such a strange a quizzical look on it's face, it made me smile even though my face was numb with cold. Come home with me.

    Yes, I do think the display will be transient ... you noticed my concerted effort to keep just a few items on the shelves - your small shelf unit really suits the dynamics of a working space, whereas, you're right, think this needs to be more 'stationary' rather than 'stationery' (pun intended)!
    One set of Grandparents lived next door (father's), one in the next street (Mother's). I obviously thought it was completely normal having them so near, as a child, not so much anymore though. My brother bought his Grandparents' house (next door) after our dear old Pop died (and still lives there with his family). I think my Mum thought he may never leave home - he was 26 - that doesn't seem that old now. I was out the door when I just turned 18!

  5. How amazing that your brother purchased your grandparent’s house – I wonder if it was for nostalgic reasons – or perhaps convenience? Has he since moved on? I think I read somewhere that the average person moves house 7 times during their lifetime (I have just googled this – and there are different reports – some say 6 others 8!). One also states that we often end up, not far from where we started.
    As a home-owner I am on house number 5 (or if I include the Stamford house – 6!), but family house moves would increase this total – so perhaps I’m nearly done?!

    The collections and things we choose to display are fascinating – there was a photo-essay fairly recently in The Guardian, where I think the photographer had visited different countries and emptied people’s possessions onto the pavement outside their homes – each appeared to be extremely minimal to me (perhaps due to choice of country) – I think I would need an entire field.

  6. Probably a bit of both P! He still lives there with his wife and two sons. It's quite strange visiting, and I can't help but look next door at my childhood home, which now appears very different that it used to, it makes me feel a little, selfishly sad.

    Crumbs, your 'house time' does seem to be running out - maybe the next one will be your forever home, or perhaps the one you are in now? Six or eight times is quite a lot - we are on house number two, though there have been three rentals in between the buying!
    I think, taking both rentals and bought houses into the mix, I have lived in 17 houses, so far in my life.

    Yes, I agree, the idea of what we have 'on show' is very interesting - your comment about needing an entire field for your possessions had me in stitches!Then it started to make me think about what we don't have on show, what is more persona; perhaps, or things that are just for ourselves - and reminded me of an exhibition a friend curated:

    This was the first major UK solo show by interdisciplinary artist Margareta Kern. These powerful and intimate photgraphs were a personal response to a tradition in Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina of women preparing clothes for their own burial. Intrigued and deeply moved by this custom, Margareta set out to explore this ritual further by making a journey back to the region she grew up in. Her images revealed a deep engagement with the women she met, whose lives have been shaped by historical and political turbulence, raising questions about the wider social context surrounding death.

    See photos here:

    1. Sorry a few typos in the comment - r.e. the childhood home - 'very different THAN it used to', and, what we don't have on show, what is more PERSONAL'

  7. Wow - what amazing photographs. I was expecting each set of clothing to be rather sombre, but there seems to be no particular set style. One even looks quite business-like. I love the first image - Mara sitting in front of the wall hanging of the Last Supper, the composition makes her appear almost as part of the image. How wonderful that they agreed to be photographed with something so emotive and personal.
    In terms of what you were referring to – I suppose another example would be people with children – who hold onto that precious first pair of shoes, or perhaps a baby tooth or two! My mother has no such mementos of mine or my brother's childhood – she is less sentimental than me I think! My brother has ensured Archie's life is well documented and they have already kept baby items – framed footprints which look like an abstract painting and a plaster cast of his tiny hand (produced by a friend who makes theatre props and needed a hand for a show!)
    Sadly, I can't think of any parallels in my own life, other than a box of photographs.

    17 houses - that's impressive.

  8. Re: Crochet blue. This is a very bizarre coincidence but I've been watching the 1950s Midwife programme this evening - and there was a scene where they all sat around making crochet squares for a blanket. It made me feel both nostalgic and frustrated - my Granny (Ruby) was a great crocheter - and often offered to teach me - I found it terribly old-fashioned and refused to learn - much to my huge regret now. As I watched the programme I was wondering who I knew who would be able to teach me! And then your lovely doilies appeared; they were worth the wait!! are they wool? Granny made similar ones to these, but I think she used a sort of cotton(?) The colours are amazing and they look so perfect. Do you use them for anything?

  9. Yes, you are right, these are made with a thick cotton P, rather than wool - you did remember something from 'crochet time' with your Granny, even if you didn't crochet!
    I have used some of the doilies for standing various objects on and for decorations too. I also used them when I held afternoon salon events, as part of my artist' book practice a couple of years ago. I almost gave them to a charity shop a while ago, but left them in the ottoman instead, as I couldn't quite let them go. I recently had an idea to make some books with a narrative about the objects that they once sat underneath, and use the doilies as the book covers. Hoping to do that soon-ish!

  10. You absolutely MUST make that book - it is a brilliant idea!

    This post has made me think about my other Grandmother's dressing table - I'm pretty certain that I remember there being very fine, pale pink doilies on top – but I'm not sure what they held - possibly china of some sort? Dressing tables are quite out of fashion aren't they, hers was a classic 1930s one, and there was a matching wardrobe too. No doubt bought when my grandparents got married and kept their entire life.

  11. Thanks P, I was hoping to get the book made for BABE - The Bristol Artists Book Event (, but we'll see how it goes. Nice ideas, not much time etc.!

    Yes, dressing tables could definitely make an appearance soon on the endangered list. I was wondering if the doilies sat underneath those dressing table sets (v.popular at the time) made of frosted glass - two candle sticks, a ring holder a small dish with a top, and a larger, more decorative dish - all for' the lady's' jewellery, make up and accessories etc.

    (I have a blue glass set (but really want a green one) although at present it's in a box, as I have no dressing table!)

    You're right P, there really was the thought that large pieces of furniture and 'bottom drawer' items were purchased for newly married couples to set them up in there home and that they would be kept for years and years afterwards. What a lot of pressure to make the right decision about what to have, in the first place.

  12. I know the dressing table sets that you mean, I have a blue glass tray that I think was part of one such set - I use it in the office to hold bits and pieces like memory stick, camera, card reader etc. - very untraditional. I think it must have been a charity shop buy. I have asked my Mum but neither of us can remember what stood on the doilies; her glass dressing table set was on the dressing table in the spare bedroom, obviously de rigueur at the time.

    I would have been hopeless at making the right decision regarding life-long furniture choices; I'm not sure they had the same relationship with their homes as we now have we ours; my grandparents were working class and I suspect they had no notion of wanting to make their home reflect their personalities or to look individual.

  13. I'm going to make this my last comment here P - otherwise we'll get too confused, keeping up duel comments - my fault for not showing my 'blue' after my 'kimono'!

    I love the fact that you use the blue glass tray for your digital delights!

    Yes, it's very hard to think of a time when items were so much more precious and that furniture did actually last a lifetime. Even electrical items were well made not so long ago - and I do remember tv repair shops!
    The idea of individualism r.e. the home, exclusive of class, seemed to explode after the war, with colours and patterns that had never been seen before on items that became widely available due to mass production.
    I really admire some of the 1950's designs, and the influence still prevails today within our homes. Yours and mine - not sure about anyone else! No, really it does, look at designers like OK which have gone global in the past few years.


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