Crafty extremes to lift the spirit

October 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

It has been a day of invigorating creative extremes.

I spent the morning in the sweltering heat of the forge hammering 5 mm diameter rods to form stylised feathers which will adorn the top of my steel vegetable climbers. These flourishes are a nod to the art deco fascination with the Egyptian antiquities discovered in the interwar years. In a humble way I feel like a disciple of the Arts and Crafts movements or the Shakers. Combining simple yet beautiful designs with functional objects; working slowly and respectfully at the pace dictated by the fire and hammer; appreciating the creative process as much as the result; and simply being in the moment.

By the afternoon I had moved on to more delicate crafts. The little flower stall in Greenwich’s Clock Tower Market came up trumps and I returned home with an armful of wine red ornamental cabbages, cassis-coloured yarrow and palest green roses with a delicate blush of pink, wrapped in brown paper. After a refreshing cup of tea I set about twisting the blooms into a muted autumn bouquet, practising the hand-tied technique I have been reading about. With hindsight some white berries would have added an accent – much like the red headscarf or apron in a Corot painting – but the result was still a creditable display.

The third string in my day of crafts involved chocolate coloured skeins of Rowan 4 ply. Increasingly appalled at the quality of knitwear, I have turned to making my own jumpers and cardigans. On a recent pilgrimage to John Lewis’ haberdashery department I had indulged in a fine merino wool and cashmere wool mix and Amber, a pattern book bursting with enticing Kim Hargreaves designs. As the dampness of the evening drew in I curled up on the sofa to cast on the back panel of a long line sleeveless cardigan. The pattern in simple stocking stitch with double moss stitched edging and the sumptuous autumnal colour is would not claim to push any modern design boundaries. But combined with a calf-length jersey dress, long pearls and a beret it will produce a warm modern take on the style of Djuna Barnes, which I admire so much.

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