About eight weeks ago, I decided to set up in business as an artisan, making items associated primarily with embroidery, weaving, quilting, appliqué and beading. I’ve been doing all of these things – and others – for a few decades as hobbies; in fact, I started embroidery at the age of six in a fervent desire to emulate the neat cross stitches produced by my talented mother. I feel as if I have been growing and feeding these hobbies throughout my life; now the green shoots are rising firm and surely, though the blossoms are a little way off as yet.
Another interest that I have stoked over the years is that of history, from Antiquity to the Medieval era. I don’t really know why more modern history has never been as inspiring and exciting for me, though it might have something to do with the fact that my secondary school taught only modern history, when I was craving details of Tudors and Stuarts, of the Bayeux Tapestry and Norman invasion, of Aethelred the Unready, Aethelstan and Alfred the Great. I got my fill of Classical history as a consequence of my studies in Latin and Ancient Greek, but I always wanted to know more of post-Roman Britannia, Ancient Persia or Egypt and its beguiling hidden treasures.
When I went up to Oxford at 18 to study Literae Humaniores (Latin, Ancient Greek, Ancient History, Philosophy and Archaeology – in a nutshell), my horizons expanded. I joined university societies such as the Oxford Arthurian Society and Tolkien Society, celebrating a shared love of myth and legend. We drank mulled wine dipped from a cauldron, clambered up Bronze Age earthworks to see in the dawn on May Morning, squeezed into Wayland’s Smithy in the pre-dawn darkness and sang songs. Arthur, the Once and Future King – Rex Quondam Rexque Futurus – became a lifetime companion.
Now at last I am combining all of my interests – history, mythology and fabric art. My inspiration is history and thus the art works of yesteryear are guiding my creative voice and expression. The art that once was shall be so again, albeit in different form.
Ars Quondam Arsque Futura.