The first of two posts today.
I am currently experiencing major problems publishing blogs from Windows LiveWriter into Blogger. According to a forum on the Microsoft website this is due to changes by Microsoft and Blogger and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. Until it is sorted, I am copying and pasting from WLW into Blogger's own (awful) "Compose New Blog" so if the layout comes out all wrong, I apologise. It appears to be impossible to get consistent paragraph layouts with this and it's a real pain.
As this is the final week of my regular 3-weekly chemo cycle, I am feeling
considerably better (just in time to feel horrible again after Friday!) so the
timing of this was perfect: on Monday my hubby agreed to take me out for a bit –
I have hardly left the house these past weeks and months, except to follow that
well-worn path to the hospital and all its attendant joys!
One of the friends I gained while in hospital had contacted me to tell me
that she had several pictures in an exhibition held in Dunsford Church over the
weekend. Dunsford is a very picturesque village in the Teign Valley, and every
two years they put on an art exhibition which is open to all comers, and my
hubby and I are both keen to enter something next time! We spent the afternoon
in the church having a good look around and meeting some interesting people, and
we were very, very impressed with the standard of work, in all media. The bulk
of the exhibition was pictures, but there was a large craft section with items
laid out on trestle tables the entire length of the church on the further side.
Wood carving, embroidery, quilting, stained glass, pottery, etc. etc. At the
further end of the table there was a special section showing a collection of the
most exquisite textile boxes, many of which featured cats in the design. They
opened in the most intriguing way and I fell utterly in love with them! The lady
who made them is called Suzanne Shave. She doesn't seem to have a website (yet) which is a shame because it would be great if you could see her other work.
My hubby was as taken with them as I was, and he offered to buy me one! I
reminded him that he never did get around to buying me a birthday present this
year (there being plenty of other things occupying our minds!), and he agreed to
buy my favourite box from the collection, and it now graces our sitting room
mantelpiece. Yesterday I took some photos of this beautiful object to share with
Here is the side view of the box. Suzanne told me that she sources her
materials from wherever she can find them – charity shops a lot of the time –
she buys scarves and cuts them up. You can see the combination of hand and
machine embroidery on this box, and the addition of clusters of small gold
A view from the top, showing the fastening which keeps the box closed.
Underneath, the box has four dinky little stumpy feet! Not strictly necessary
but they add such charm to the piece! You an see that they were constructed from
rolled up fabric, like the toggles on the closure thread.
The box, open. For the purposes of the photo, I put a couple of small bottles
underneath the sides to stop the box form opening fully. Normally the sides
would rest on the table.
Looking inside the box, you can see what amazing attention to detail Suzanne
shows, with the quality of her finish.
I told my hubby I thought it would be fun to make a few little textile cats
to go inside this box, and he suggested taking a leaf out of Suzanne’s book and
making representations of all our ktities, past and present! What a lovely
It would be fun to open the box and find it full of cats! I attended several
courses on fabric box making back in Plymouth days when I belonged to the
Westcountry Embroiderers, and the amazing teacher always said that a box should
contain a surprise.
Having had experience of making boxes, I know just how much work has gone
into the construction and embellishment of this one. Suzanne said she was
delighted it was going to such a good home – to someone who appreciated the
work, and who was also a cat person!
Isn’t this a beautiful object? I love its construction, the unusual way it
opens, its bold colours and the stylised cats which seem to fill both sides of
the box. Happy cats!