Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Handmade Home

Beautiful quilt made by Pam Dew
Textile art by Sheila Barrow
Rag rug by Ruth Ellacott
I visited a very cosy house yesterday and the owners personality was evident in all the small details. It got me thinking about why I had been unable to get to grips with my own house and make it feel truly a home. And I realised that this house is the first house I am alone in. Happily alone but nonetheless for the first time there is no-one else to make a home for. It's like blitzing the house when someone is coming to stay. You want it to look its best for them. Life is all about looking after other people and it's a wrestle to accept the importance of looking after oneself.  And having a lovely home is all part of that self-acknowledgement.

So how to make a home friendlier, cosier and more comfortable? The answer for me is to create a handmade home. And if you are making things for yourself they don't have to be perfect. It's an opportunity to experiment and have fun.

 With so many homes having stripped or painted floorboards a rag rug adds warmth, colour and style. Making one seems easy with poking fabric strips through a canvas or hessian piece of fabric or crocheting strips in a circle. To be really authentic you'd have to only use fabric (clothes or curtains) that you were otherwise going to throw away or give away. Older customers remember threadbare boys trousers and father's suits being made into rugs. But now when we want particular colours we may have to buy some fabric. Car boot sales?

A patchwork quilt provides a cosy touch over the back of a sofa or imagine one as a door curtain to stop draughts. I have one as art on my wall and I'd love to have one draped over each bed, perhaps with tapestry cushions in toning colours on top. Hand-knitted cushions and knitted and crocheted throws add lots of comfort to a room. During the week a customer told me she had made a throw for an exhibition using just odd lengths of wool from her stash. It sold and she was then approached by an American who offered her £600 to make a similar one but she felt she couldn't repeat it.

What about patchwork curtains? Small strip patchwork looks really good in a small room and larger patchwork squares/rectangles for a larger room. 

Finally what about making your own artwork for your walls? Express yourself on paper, and you've literally made your mark on your home. Making it inescapably yours.

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