The House that I was born in

There’s something about the house that I was born in that draws me. Happy times I guess. Learning about the world was always enjoyable and I was keen to know learn the next thing. Even then I was drawing out little maps of the roads that I knew – the roads to school, the way to the library and the shops and then later on, my route to the bigger school, which I wasn’t allowed to do on my own. It requiring crossing Brigstock Road with all its buses and vans. It seems amazing now, that I was allowed to walk to school on my own as an infant, crossing two minor roads. We lived in a Victorian semi, which originally had three bedrooms and then the back bedroom was converted to a bathroom and box room.

The House that I was Born in

As this tapestry progressed, I was interested in how my use of colours developed. I had an idea of a palette and had decided not to be driven by the aesthetic of the work, which would be my usual approach. Instead, colours took on a meaning and in particular, bright orange for no-go areas like the scullery, that we weren’t allowed into as children. The pale blue areas show where we lived routinely, and places like the front room were very vague to me, only used for visitors and for short periods of time and very cold, with Lino round the edge of the room.

The house I was born in

Another surprising thing for me was the realisation that, in my mind, I always see the plan of this first house with the back of the house at the bottom. Other houses I’ve lived in I see the other way around, the front of the house at the bottom. I guess that I didn’t have to enter this house – I was already in it. It’s where I was born.

The tapestry is small, but quite precious to me and is probably technically my best work so far. I am now starting work on a larger tapestry 33cm wide for my 7-11 house (we moved twice when I was a child). I am going to experiment with using sock wool (cheaper!) but I am wondering if it will be as resilient as the beautiful worsted yarns that I bought from Weaver’s Bazaar and my own dyed worsted yarns.

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