Craft Dreams Bloomed in Father’s Head

IMG_20200122_194609_646My parents became accidental textile entrepreneurs after a hitch-hike holiday to Donegal in 1950. Hand weaving remains an important part of my family myth and life…

Image by Brian Gallagher https://www.instagram.com/br.ian8364/

In background some colours my mother once designed.

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In far-flung corrugated country shed

craft dreams bloomed in father’s head;

there, wooden loom-bench rocked creaking,

industrious shuttles, excitedly speaking,

box-chambered energy expelled with speed,

shiny bullet-nosed boats, harvesting tweed.

Weft clasped warp in organic embrace,

sweat glazed idealist, bespectacled face,

plank pedals foot-pumped up-and-down,

he paused, found flaws, critically frowned;

so, halted that backbeat, persistent percussion,

problems solved through design discussion.

My father wove mother’s sun-lit hues,

spun wool fibres, rural colours infused;

both creators confounded the frugal Fifties,

later exporting garments to European cities;

blessed be artistic brains and crafting hands:

married seers searching promised lands.

On the end of my boarding school bed

lay folded mohair blanket, vivid orange-red,

waiting to warm dorm wintry nights,

fluffy mohair cocooned me, feathery light;

Hemmings name-tape in corner sewed,

fifty years on that heirloom still owned.

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In February 2020, I was fortunate enough to experience a weaving week with Brenda Hewitt of Gortahork, Donegal.

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