The proud parents showed us her sketch and we were taken aback. This was back in early September. Then, a few days later, we were talking about it while hill walking during one of the inter-pandemic lockdown respites. We talked with the artist about her sketch and how art can involve many media. We joined the artist sketching smiley faces on soft slates with hard glacial dropstones and left the faces by the trail to cheer other walkers.
Technology being what it is, while walking in the wilderness, we pulled out a smartphone to look at A Stitch in Time, the website of a brilliant stitched textile artist that we met last year. The website illustrated to the young artist how stitching can be as good if not better than a pencil on paper or granite on slates. But the artist had just turned seven and already knew these things, in part because she’d seen Liz Brooke Ward’s Parandrus and Four Minute Sampler hanging in our home. Liz had a great showing at ‘Cotswold Edge’ in the Great Oak Hall in Westonbirt, home of the UK National Arboretum. And the trees were pretty amazing too.
I had stood strong before Parandrus on the equinox in March as my good wife braved a photo of me. I became The Prisoner in the Monte Carlo Mask. I was feeling a bit like an animal from some medieval bestiaries, trapped by the new isolations. Little did I know how long our incarcerations would last.
Each of the 300 days I have been doing this journal, locked down or not, I must pass Four Minute Sampler many times as I navigate our spiral stairwell. Sampler is quite something to see, especially when you know that the stitched sketches were once a student’s crumpled paper discards from many four minute art school drawing exercises.
Liz Brooke Ward stitched the Picasso sketch by the seven year old and yesterday, we handed the newly framed masterpiece to the proud parents as a Christmas gift. There was almost a tear in our eyes, we were that proud and we could see that they were too. The young artist herself was suitably impressed by this derivative rendering of her interpretation of what her teachers taught her about Pablo Picasso.
It’s a funny thing, inspiration. We were inspired to give the seven year old artist a sewing and fabric box as her Christmas present.