Since September 2020 I've hand stitched buttons onto a single polyester sheet that was my mothers. Mum (Doreen Logan née Furmage) used yellow Lenor fabric softener and I've kept her sheets and pillowcases in a sealed bag to retain this scent.
When I began to sew the scent was strong and powerfully evocative of climbing into the single bed in my old room at home. I feel protective of this scent, aware that over the months and years it will fade. At each sewing I sniff the sheet, judging 'loss', relieved the scent is still detectable - my mothers final act of washing bedding palpable.
This fading and my emotional urge to 'stop time' evoked thoughts around the impossibility (and undesirability) of statis, the futility of this desire and the inevitability of loss and gain and loss and gain.
As scent fades buttons increase, making the sheet heavy, unwieldy, difficult to handle. I've covered a third of the sheet in buttons and my arms shake when holding it for longer than a moment.
I'm enjoying the sheet becoming difficult and how frustrating it is to sew at times - thread getting lopped around buttons, knots, button spacing, placing the needle precisely to sew (unseen) from under the sheet through tiny button holes... Infuriating and satisfying and repetitive and time consuming.