This might be your cup of tea….

“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting. 

In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea. I liked the Irish way better.” 
― C.E. Murphy, Urban Shaman

Tea is such an integral part of life – certainly British life, possibly more so for the older generation. When a visitor arrives at our houses we immediately offer them a cup of tea. Making tea is suggested as a suitable response to receiving bad news. It gives the recipient of the news something practical to do, somewhere to put their grief, or shock – for the moment anyway.

“If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.”
-William Ewart Gladstone

Tea has invaded our language too – we talk about someone or something being just “my cup of tea”, something we feel comfortable with and we enjoy. Jack Buchanan explains our love of tea so well in his song EVERYTHING STOPS FOR TEA, which was featured in Buchanan’s 1935 comedy film, “Come Out Of The Pantry” (Goodhart / Hoffman / Sigler) Jack Buchanan

I couldn’t give quotations about tea without a mention of Billy Connolly’s “Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn’t try it on. ”

Devonshire Way – My 7 to 11 year old home

This is my latest and largest tapestry so far, woven on a pin loom. It shows a floor plan of the house I lived it from the age of 7 to 11 years old. It emphasises areas that were important to me such as the porch where I played two-ball (endlessly), the gramophone in the front room and the Wendy house in the garden. They were happy places and were woven in yellow (the happy colour). The area outside the back door also has a lot of yellow showing all the activity with children and dogs constantly in and out.

Devonshire Way – early stages

This shows the early stages of the tapestry, including the bottom selvedge with my weaver’s mark in orange. The warp is coral coloured, not quite the deep red I had hoped for when I was dyeing the warp. I find the natural warp colour difficult to ‘lose’ sometimes when I am preparing the work for showing and this is why I decided to dye it.

Devonshire Way – nearing completion

Tapestry creates a meditative state and I have been surprised at how some very obscure memories of my childhood home have come to mind, such as the fact that there was a green step-stool in the corner in the kitchen. Other details, like the position of the furniture in the back room (lounge) were more difficult to bring to mind, although I do remember sitting on the sofa under the slope of the stairs. It would have been called a settee in those days.

The brass-bound, black coffee table and the round, wicker dog basket were important parts of the lounge to me – whereas I have had to guess at the positions of the chairs, which were for adults. On the whole we children sat or lay on the floor. The TV had a V shaped aerial on top of the set, which sat in the corner of the room.

The hall had a very strongly patterned, green carpet, which continued up the stairs (which I loved to crawl down on my tummy).

I included the Wendy house in the back garden as I fell in love with this when my family viewed the house before moving in. I was so disappointed when we arrived on learning that the previous residents took the Wendy house with them. Also included in the tapestry are the fruit trees in the garden and the igloo that we built one very cold winter.

Completing a tapestry is always a pleasure, even thought a lot of work remains in order to prepare it for use.

The back of the tapestry needs the ends and spent bobbins trimming off and then the work is pinned out ready to ‘block’ the piece.