11 April 2013

twenty thousand years


As I have been pottering about these last few months in a house that has times seemed at times to be as cold as an ice age cave, I have thought about the twenty thousand year old pieces we saw at the Ice Age Art exhibition at the British Museum: the swimming reindeer; the lion man; the small carved pictures of animals on bone; the fat, fertile women; tiny little pieces that to an untutored eye looked like any old piece of stone. Lump-in-the-throat moving and mysterious. What impelled those people to go beyond the sheer practicality of finding food and staying warm?   Were the depictions of fat, fertile women celebratory or appellant? What comfort did they get from their work?

Binding off - at last

I thought about all this as I sat next to the fire in the back bedroom on those freezing afternoons and increasingly, as I could not face getting out on the bike or walking in the biting wind, I took my own comfort in fabric and yarn: knitting a fat scarf for my brother, the quilting on a small piece I started months ago, making a hussif with instructions from Merchant and Mills, cutting out and sewing a dress at a local class under the tutelage of a teacher straight out of the May Martin school of perfection.  I learned how to adjust a pattern so that it actually fitted me across the front and the back. I started to read more - lazy, undisciplined, comfort reading for the most part, but it was good all the same - and much as I hated reading the Hobbit, I at least learnt the difference between goblins and pixies and elves.  On those days when even I couldn't find an excuse to stay indoors, we went out and about to look at drawings, sculpturesphotoscollagescuriosities. I went to the ballet and a musical for the first time in years.

Cutting out lining - incorrectly as it turned out

I know I won't forget this winter for years, but as it finally segues into spring, seedlings come up, coughs ease, moths wake up, blankets and woolens are washed and stored and it's impossible to ignore the grime on the kitchen windows, I want to be able to remember when I look back that it wasn't all bad.

6 comments:

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

I love the cosy image of you quilting :)

It really has been too cold and grey hasn't it, and this from a lover of winter.

ALoadofOldTat said...

I love the fat fertile woman.

Rattling On said...

I also often wonder what led people to make fancy buttons, perfumes and jewellery. Creativity is a very interesting subject.
Still some snow in my garden...

rachel said...

Sounds like you have made a Jolly Good Effort this winter. Well done, you; wish I had done the same. If Spring doesn't get here soon and stay awhile, all the cold-weather comfort eating I've done for months will make me look like that fat lady.....

Liz said...

Lots of good stuff in this post. Will we get to see your dress? I've been meaning to retrieve my sewing machine from the loft but have been too busy admiring the gleaming windows here.

Josie crafter said...

What a great post! Yes I'm hoping we can look back at the highlights rather than the ongoing freezing winds and grey skies.
Thank you so very much for your comments today. I really enjoyed reading about all your veg growing. I hope you have a good week - and Springlike too!
Josie