This fabulous handmade card dropped recently into my post box. It’s by Alison Richards, a fellow participant in the MMATC (Mixed Media Artist Trading Cards) Rainbow Accordion Book card swap. As I explained in an earlier blog, each card in the series is to represent a colour of the rainbow.
MMATC is a Yahoo! group of artists based in the UK and this is the second card in the series, based on the colour orange (being the second colour of the rainbow inwards from red). So I now have 2 of the eventual 7 art cards I’ll receive. the 7 cards collected, I’ll be making them all up into an accordion book.
I’ve never made an accordion book, so I’m hoping I don’t make a pig’s ear of everybody’s artwork! I’ll probably do a dummy run with blank cards, to lower the risk!
Everybody taking part is making their cards from fabric paper, which I’ve also described in my earlier blog. I told Alison when I received her card that it took me right back to my childhood, as I wanted to lick it – the orange flecks in her card reminded me of the Sherbert Lemon (or in this case, Sherbert Orange) I used to get from my local sweet shop! You could get sherbert in sweets in various ways. I still buy the lemon shaped and flavoured boiled sweets in which the powdered sherbert is encapsulated. I also remember Flying Saucers, made of rice paper pockets in the shape of flying saucers, stuffed with sherbert powder. My favourite sherbert sweeties were liquorice straws inserted into a long packet of sherbert. The straw was hollow. You bit off the end (and ate it) and sucked the sherbert through. When it hit the tongue the sherbert, which is little more than sugar-flavoured carbonate, foamed and frothed. And if you sucked too hard you choked yourself on the sherbert. My mouth is watering.
Those were the days! Some of my earliest memories were of living in a house overlooking a village green. I played on the green, which was planted out with bushes and in the middle stood a War Memorial. Around the green was a Working Men’s Club (CIU), a British Legion, a Post Office, sweet shop and the church in which I’d been christened. Behind our house was an Undertaker’s, including a yard where they made the coffins and a little chapel where the deceased would await their final journey and where family and friends could go and pay their final respects.
My uncle was employed by the church – built in 1868 on the site of a Norman Chapel – as a gravedigger. He would also wind up the church clock and sometimes I’d go up with him into the belfry, for company. He also tended the graves. I admit that I used to make pretend graves for the family dog, a neurotic ginger corgi with – strangely-enough – long legs, which meant he could leap like an antelope! I just made the tops of his graves, decorating their oblong shapes with buttercups and daisies. Come to think of it, these were probably my earliest works of art. And while other girls had wedding ceremonies for their dolls, I would conduct funerals, using shoe boxes as my dolls’ coffins. Perhaps I was a bit of a stange kid!
My uncle’s wife worked in the Post Office. She went on to become Lady Mayoress of the local town. Around the corner from our house was a working blacksmith’s. And I’m certain there were still gas street lamps (alternating with the electric ones – I’m not that ancient!) and that a man used to come round every evening and light them.
Beyond the church were allotments and field after field of corn and country lanes in which my friends and I from the local school, also close to the village green, played and rambled. These fields are long gone, transformed into housing estates (of course). Our house is no longer there, nor the sweet shop (the man who ran it hanged himself) . The Post Office is gone. Only the British Legion survives, of the old village green set up.
I almost like the back of Alison’s card more than the front, with its dancing, dreamy, somewhat surreal abstract shapes floating above a sea of shadows and un-nameable (except for one tiny butterfly) flotsam. Perhaps it was as much the back of the card as the front, that triggered my drift of childhood memories …
As with the January swap of red cards, I’m impressed at the diversity in the interpretation of fabric paper and the theme of the swap.
I’ll post my own attempt at Orange shortly.
Thank you Alison for your beautiful card and my walk down memory lane.