Mair Edwards – Memories remembered & lost
After our online Zoom meeting in February it was so enjoyable to meet up earlier this week when a hall full of members, heard Mair Edwards’ talk entitled “Memories remembered and lost”.
Mair grew up in the Rhondda and it was obvious from the beginning that her family were important in her life. On completing her City & Guilds and working with Julia Capara, Mair decided she wanted to use childhood memories as inspiration for her next project but she struggled with colour. She was reminded that black and white are colours so that is what she chose for the majority of her work.
Sketchbooks were created with ideas relating to different members of the family and their possessions. The first sample of work which we were shown related to Mair’s mother who unfortunately suffered with dementia. Every two weeks Mair would visit and she recorded their conversations on strips of organza. It was noticeable and moving to see decline in exchange as the weeks passed by.
Another project also related to the family and showed the different female generations ending with Mair’s grand-daughter and in a second, memories were recorded on strips of organza which were knitted.
It was only on close inspection that we discovered a child’s “Sunday coat” was made from Welsh Hymn books with wonderful phrases relating to Mair’s memories. “Smells of cooking”, “Sunday lunch”, “Rice pudding” “Chapel” “Sunday School”, “No shops open”, “No playing outside”.
Mair created several pieces of work for exhibitions relating to DNA and she showed us a wonderful selection using her distinctive black text on white. I was amazed to see groups of people had been machine stitched, cut out and then sewn onto the background which must have taken hours of fiddly work. The topic of ancestry was used for another exhibition and I particularly liked one entitled “How many ancestors I have”.
Finally Mair showed us her work for Newbury Embroiderers Guild. In 2021 they had an exhibition in the Control Tower at Greenham Common. One exhibit was called Protest and the coloured one, which was stitched during the pandemic, was called Leisure. The Newbury Embroiderers Guild has now been renamed Newbury Creative Stitchers.
I wonder if introducing colour was a turning point in Mair’s creative journey.
Thank you Mair for sharing your amazing work with us and for giving us an insight into your family memories.
Report by Ros
Photos by Ros with permission from Mair
Newbury Creative Stitchers meet every second Monday of each month at 7.30pm at St Francis de Sales Church Hall RG14 6NH: