Thursday, May 31, 2012

Textile Thursday - May

This Textile Thursday I am going to share with you just a little about a woman who is very close to my heart. I know some of you hear every now and again about my troubles in sourcing rug wool and canvas for May (the absolute matriarch of our family). You hear her name mentioned daily and at 92 years of age I can safely say that she does in fact still run our family. You can only imagine the life this lady has had but today I am going to stick to her creative side. 

Ever since I was a little girl, May has taught me how to knit, sew (I didn't take to this), embroider (I didn't take to this either) and how to make latch hook rugs. She has also taught me how to clean, run a house, bake and just about anything else you can imagine. To put this into perspective May was already in her  seventies at this point.  Because of where I live now I only have 3 of her pieces of work due to the fact that I am terrified that something will happen to them. The painting that you can see above was given to me on my 25th birthday and she took 5 weeks to paint, but only on Thursdays :) 

May being 92, ensures me that in fact the social scene in Dundalk, is on Thursday's, where she attends a social group for the elderly within the Louth County Hospital's day centre. She has quite the collection of paintings now but most of them have either been sold (to help fund the centre) or have been...... lets say acquired by family members via birthdays, gifts etc.  What really shocks me is that May has never painted until her later years. Her husband, in fact was the painter and artist in the family, there is even a local award named after him. He unfortunately passed away quite young and early into their marriage but we have a fair few pieces painted by him around our family home. 

Grey Rug 

Although her painting took root later in life, May has always knitted and handmade rugs. Ever since she was a little girl helping to take care of a big family of brothers and sisters, she was eager to learn and work with her hands. The rug above May made in under a week from Drops Eskimo and some canvas I found in The Woolen Mills in Dublin. The one below she made in 2 weeks from the same materials just different colours. She cut the wool into pieces by hand and knotted them singularly on to the canvas. So each tuft you see in the pictures was placed carefully into place by her.  The template / tester rug below is a smaller version of the massive rug that is under construction at home. This lady has in reality 'done it all'. The only wool craft May has never taken too was spinning fibre. She has washed fleece and assures me she just never had a taste for it. 


The one thing that I admire most is that May has never let age affect where she has wanted to go, what she has wanted to turn her hand too or stop her from working on the crafts that she loves. I can assure you that this morning she has already cut some wool for her rug before getting ready to head on up to the day centre to finish her current painting of the Seatown Castle in Dundalk. Although she has had many things thrown at her throughout her life she has never once allowed them to define her or stop her from doing what she loves. I only hope that in my years to come I am blessed with the same life longevity and that I can still be working on crafts. 

May and my dad enjoying a well deserved glass of champagne on her 91st birthday

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