While I was threading beads and buttons on cotton thread on Father’s Day today (to be spun into merino fibre), I was musing about the men in my family who were creative, although they might not always considered themselves as such. In fact, there might have been more male then female creatives in my immediate family.
My late father was a brilliant hand sewer. He made some of the
tiniest and neatest stitches I ever saw. Dad was the one who altered all
our clothes, gave me scrap fabrics to play with, and made me a fabulous
Cyndi Lauper skirt from flurescent-coloured net fabric. He was also
delighted when I asked him to give me a sewing machine for Christmas
when I was 15, less delighted when I broke so many needles and gave up
(not after managing to make myself a carneval’s costume though). So he
took the machine to continue doing the family’s clothes alterations, but
I think he preferred sewing by hand. In that respect I am very like
him, I also prefer hand sewing.
My Dad also could draw well. I had totally forgotten that he used to
draw animals for us when we were kids before my sister reminded me. He
also loved singing Sea Shanties, although he had no connections to the
sea or boats. And he used to tell us kids lovely stories in which my sis
and I were the main characters!
My Dad’s Da was a farmer, who however was also the tailor in the
small village they lived in. According to my Dad, Grandda tailored some
beautiful suits and we have a picture of my Dad as a young man wearing a
checkered suit (made by his Dad) which must have been the height of
I don’t think my Dad or his father ever considered themselves as
crafty or creative, but rather perceived sewing as a trade or useful
My mother’s father was a printer, who as a young man wanted to join a
circus. As a kid I always regretted that he hadn’t done it, because
then I might have grown up to be a trapeze artist! Grandpa also loved
doing magic tricks, and entertained the kids in the neighbourhood with
his magic skills and spectacular cartwheels. Doing cartwheels is an
ability I inherited from him.
Often people assume that craft skills are handed down from mother to
daughter, but in my case, my first crafty influence came from my Dad. I
could sew, before I ever picked up a knitting needle, and my barbie
dolls had the grooviest outfits ever!
Happy Father’s Day!