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Welcome to Luminosity & Sunshine

Designer, maker, upcycler… fabric, trims and paper hoarder… user of discarded things which I turn into quirky original pieces..

Tag: cancer

My Singer

With trepidation I lift the lid of the wooden box on legs that has remained closed for X years. This is no ordinary box. This is a box full of memories.

I was 14 when my Grandma passed away. She was the first person close to me to die. I don’t think I knew how to grieve. All I knew was that this illness beginning with C had brought years of sadness and now grief. My happy childhood memories were tainted by an unspoken cloud hanging over the bungalow. It’s hard to understand at that age why it wasn’t always a happy place to be.

After my Grandad passed away to the same illness, we took a material possessions family journey through decades of my Grandparents life. Inheriting my Grandmas treadle Singer sewing machine and sewing box meant the world to me. I didn’t realise then that these inanimate objects would unlock a link to the past, my own healing and happier times.

When I set up my own area within our shared studio space three years ago, I knew I wanted these two sentimental pieces of my history to have pride of place. Modern machinery meets vintage as my Husqvarna sturdily sits on top of the Singer table. A shrine to my crafty heritage and the skills passed down to me in my genes and lovingly taught first hand through the generations. My Grandma teaching my Mum, my Mum teaching me. First hand tuition or silent observation of the love and dedication that goes into making something by hand. Prompted by this story I must now ask the question I haven’t asked before. Who taught my Grandma?

As I sit at the treadle table for the first time, I feel a deep sense of connection to my Grandma. I think of the hours she must have spent in this exact same spot. She had a skill, but she must have also had a passion and a drive to make and create, just like me. My mind unlocks vivid early memories of my Grandma effortlessly working the treadle pedal as I watched in awe. There is something very melodic and soothing about the rhythm and the sound of this magic machine. Weaving some of these happier memories together in my mind, allowed me to heal the old grief and sadness that had lingered hidden inside me. Silent, unknown, unspoken grief.

Only recently have I summoned up the courage to open the lid of the box of memories. The distinctive smell of vintage haberdashery filled my nostrils. Inside the custom-made quilted lid, I found dozens of pins and sewing needles with surplus thread, all placed in their place by my Grandma. When was the last time? When did the illness take over and make it the last time? Little soldiers of craft entombed in time.

Gingerly I navigate my way through the contents of this crafting work station and my subsequent emotions. I was surprised to find “yards and yards” of beautiful old lace. A chance conversation with my Mum helped to explain its provenance. My kind Grandma used to buy small soaps to raise money for her church. She would carefully wrap them with lace and fix the lace in place with a sequin and a pin. I felt this was such a thoughtful and heartfelt deed that needed to be celebrated and shared to inspire.

When I started to develop my idea for a “Share The Love Bundle” this was the focal point of my idea. A bundle of love hand tied by me with my Grandmas lace. I carefully set about hand washing the lace and then painstakingly untangling and unravelling the bundle of baby pink hues. My thoughts moved away from my frustration at the knots and entanglement to the true provenance of the lace. The lace factory. The buzz of the factory. The skill of the people who made the lace. Proud workers trained and skilled. Skills lost in time and generation. I hang the lace to dry and the darkness fades away. Light streams through the thin veils as they hang majestically on the cheap plastic dryer.

But what of the box that keeps on giving? I was puzzled to unearth small round wire frames wrapped with faded cotton. What would they have been used for? Why would they be in there? What would Grandma have made with them? My Mum sheds yet more light on my questions. My Grandma used to make lampshades. Shivers bristle down the length of my spine. My Grandma used to make lampshades!?! How did I not know this? Ever since I began to re-explore my creative talents I have been drawn to lampshades. My adventurous (just started walking) little boy accidentally broke a lampshade at my parents’ house which happened to have belonged to my grandparents. My Mum suggested I take it to the studio and see if I could fix it. I fixed it and upcycled it and loved it. My passion to “muck about” with old lampshades continued and continues to this day. It astounds me that I have forged my own way along my creative path and got to this point without knowing this shared skill. Has my Grandma been guiding me all along? Does this magic box just keep on giving?


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