Other than perhaps joining the familiar internet crafting groups and blogs, the only experience I’ve ever had of a craft group was when I was a little girl holidaying in Corfu with the family.
Our holidays at that time were as far from today’s Package holiday as could be. We all journeyed to our destination in an entourage of cars laden to the rafters with kids, quilts and salami sandwiches. The cost of flying with Olympic airlines to Corfu in those days were only for the likes of the Onassis family or the Greek orthodox vicar whose flight tickets were often funded by the congregation for his “missionary work”!
We would all arrive at my Aunts and Uncles house in “the village” bearing gifts of fabric, boxes of Milk Tray chocolates and clothes from C&A. This was our payment to them for putting us up and putting up with us for the next three months. It was often discussed on the journey down that we would all have to contribute to the running of the house by doing chores. The adults would help with olive picking, mucking out the donkey and cleaning… for me my chores were riding the donkey down to the corn fields, chasing hens, running away from lizards and cooling off in the brook whilst the ladies did the laundry by beating and bashing sheets against the rocks. Bliss!!!!!!!!!!!!
However, don’t let me paint a perfect Corfiot Greek scene to you for there was an underworld. A world which revolved around the times where the men would slumber into a deep sleep after consuming huge farmhouse lunches washed down with retsina and ouzo. Whilst they slept the women would pick up their sleeping children, tuck their ruffled black skirts into their pants and saunter softly barefooted out of the house directing me and my Mum under cold stares with fingers to lips as warning to keep the siesta time sacred!
We’d meet other women en route often to a pre-determined destination. A place often sheltered from the sun. Would it be a courtyard shaded with by rustic bamboo rafters, a grape-vine shaded pagoda, a cool hay stacked barn .. Or if we were lucky, the summer-house within the orange groves of largest house of the village??? Who knew? These things were often organised within the walls of the local butchers shop, the flour dusted floor of the baker and confirmed under the large almond tree after church.
So where were these women going? Sewing circle silly!!!!! Where did you think we were all going!
Under the shade of overhead balconies you’d find groups of women doing crochet, knitting and making the most wonderful cross stitched projects my big brown eyes have ever seen. In between the gossip and the giggles, homeopathic remedies, recipes and jokes were shared whilst scoffing slabs of sticky rose hip syrup soaked cakes.
Tiny cups of heavy coffee were served and fortunes were told by “reading the coffee dregs”. Marriages were arranged and affairs disclosed…. They were wonderful times where the females for one moment were emancipated from the drudgery of living off the land. They displayed the inner beauty hidden behind their sun scorched wrinkled faces and dusty black clothes by showing off their fantastic creative talent.
Entrepreneurs that Alan Sugar would be pleased to place on his board of directors were within that shaded secret circle. I marvelled at crochet hooks made from lamb shank bones, knitting needles from bits of stick, carved bobbins and spinning wheels from old cart wheels and almond wood… amazing work. Everything was recycled, up cycled and upsold!
I learned a lot from these ladies, besides dress making, quilting, cross stitch, crochet and knitting.
They taught me how to look at the brilliant palate of colour found in nature… brilliant Bougainvillea, fuchsias, dandelions and thistles.
They taught me how close my eyes and how to dream in colour. How to allow those dreams to seep into my daytime hours within the work I created…
And of course they gave me the best relationship tip ever… read carefully and digest ladies.
A woman’s beauty has nothing to do with the curves or contours of her body..
The most attractive asset a woman could possess is the curve of her smile
What sewing circle secrets are you prepared to share with me???… Tell us.
Ps… I’ve copied many of these pics from the internet.
Although I’ve tried to give credit and reference to the sites as much as possible if I’ve missed anything out I apologise in advance. They were chosen because they’re beautiful photos not for any commercial gain.