As soon as I saw this beautiful little picture by artist, Cas Holmes, I knew it had to be mine:
It sums up my emotional roots in the Fen landscape just perfectly, and so I wasn’t surprised to find that Cas is from the Fens too. She’s a wonderful and interesting textile artist – just look at her work – and also a friend of this website. She says about her art:
“I like to use discarded items, waste material no longer considered useful and develop pieces using stitch and collage. Looking at translucent layers, connecting paint, mark and print with the found surfaces of fabrics and papers, my work is informed by the ‘hidden’ or often overlooked parts of our landscape, and personal spaces. I am interested in the relationship with domestic interiors and outside places, the views from our windows, the verges of our roadsides, field edges and the places where our gardens meet the ‘greater landscape’. Working with ‘stitch sketching’, I seek to capture a moment or thing before it is gone.”
This is a beautiful piece of hers called ‘Wayside Weeds’:
Recently she sent me some quotes and thoughts about gardens that made me want to dedicate a post to her! Here are some of the quotes she sent:
‘People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.’ Iris Murdoch.
And this from her grandmother, Mary, who was a Romany Gypsy and wrote this while looking at plants in her garden on the advent of the second World War: ‘I watched as the Plumbago flowered and the petals fell and wondered how many of our men would now fall.’
Chilling, simple and true. I don’t think it is connected but it resonated for me with another of Cas’s pieces, Counting Crows:
In fact, the Arts Council England have a textile art piece that Cas made from her grandmother’s old seed wrappers and her aprons, which is called ‘My Grandmother’s Garden’. Cas says about her grandmother, that ‘as a traveller, she often said that the roadsides and the fields were her ‘garden’ and she never tired of the changing aspects.’
But it is something Cas’s grandfather said that gave me the inspiration for a poem today. This was after the Second World War when he was asked why he had flowers in his vegetable beds:
‘I will always plant some flowers as we need flowers to feed our souls as well as vegetables to feed our belly.’
It reminds me of a story I heard about Clementine Churchill who had been told off for planting swathes of bulbs in London during war time. She called it ‘an act of defiance’, because in fact what she was planting was hope that there would be a future and that future would contain beauty, colour and scent.
And you’re there
preparing the ground
for me to plant marigolds
my mouth watering
already at our harvest
of gold and rubies.
If this tempts you to learn more, you can study with Cas at these forthcoming workshops!