When my mother died in 2017 I kept the sheets and pillowcases stored in the large drawers under her bed. These textiles felt significant at the time and are significant still. They retain the scent of her fabric conditioner and breathing it in brings tears to my eyes.
Within my AA2A placement at Derby University I'm working with my childhood memories of Mum reading fairy tales to my sister and I in bed. She joined us, sleeping with us for safety from my alcoholic and violent father. So sheets, pillowcases and storytelling hold an added complexity for me, and again lead me to notions of safety and danger. Is the dark wood dangerous? Is my home safe?
The fairy tales I loved were written by Alison Uttley, who was born just three miles from where I live. I visited her farm birthplace last Autumn and became fascinated by the dry stone wall and hawthorn hedge boundaries around the farm. The notion of boundary and bedding became linked for me.
With this in mind I am over halfway through hand stitching a dry stone wall from Uttley's farm onto a charity shop pillowcase (I can't bring myself to use my mothers bedding yet, it's too precious). Night after night I stitch, much like the protagonists in Uttley's tales. Will it say what I wish when finished? I'll only know when it's complete.