Monday, 7 April 2014

Beverley's sun hat

I knew Beverly as a mother from school - our sons are in the same class and I knew she had an allotment - but I had never been there.

The first time I visited her we sat in the sun and ate cake and talked. She brought some fabric to show me - a beautiful wax print cloth she had bought in Jamaica, full of turquoise and tangerine. And a piece of open work almost crocheted fabric - also blue which reminded her of her childhood in East Dulwich and her mum who worked in a sewing factory.

She gave me some brocolli to take home and it was delicious - barely steamed and with just a pinch of salt. I found out that Beverley has been both a solicitor and a cake-maker to the stars and could make virtually anything with her hands.

She is clearing her plot - making beds, moving the strawberries, pruning her apple tree - creating new order and space for new life. Her clearing away with the old got me thinking about seeds... on one tidying up day I found some seeds heads that had fallen from her artichoke. As a whole they were heavy and earthbound but individually - light as gossamer and feathery. They had survived the winter and one blue spring day we set them free and watched them fly away.

I started drawing Beverley's seeds with mud but they needed to fly so I began to print wax over the top. 

I decided to design Beverley a print of flying seed heads whirling through the blue sky and I'm trying to make it using the wax print that she likes. We are planning to make a broad brimmed sun hat with a crocheted crown that will protect her when she is working in the heat of the day. I want to dip just the edge of the brim in indigo and let it soak up through the calico and into the wax.

Beverley is very skilled with a crochet hook - she made these samples using paper and spun plastic netting which I found on the allotment and which she painstakingly unpicked.

How to make a hat? We're not sure...but we want to keep the feeling of the flying away seed heads, the bright, baked colours of the sky and the earth and we want to make something as beautiful as Beverley's plot will be.