Even More Hearts

stuffed and beaded heart with portrait of Nimrod, given as a gift to celebrate his owners' wedding.

Looking for more hearts to update the Gallery  I found this stuffed heart image which I had made to celebrate the marriage of  Tim Tanner to my  niece Jo Haigh (owner of the old mended Barbour) it depicts their dog, Nimrod, Nimmie for short. Nimrod was from a  Newcastle dogs’ home, Jo had visited and asked to see only the dogs on “Death Row” and found this beautiful cross bred dog, we think between a fox hound and something much noisier.  After the wedding they went off travelling, parking the dog with her parents – he stayed with them for the next 10 years on and off as she and her husband worked all around the world. I decided to make this portrait of him for them to take on their travels.

From stuffed hearts to empty ones…and so to something entirely different :- about this time last year I took part in a Box Workshop run by Elizabeth Turrell, and Matthew Partington at UWE.Bristol.

stitched paper heart shaped box and lid
interior of small heart box

I think the world can be divided between people who can make boxes, wrap up presents and who are neat, neat, neat, and then there’s the rest of us.

I really didn’t know how to start the project as I like to draw my ideas first and then attempt to make the drawings; but everyone else, jewellers, ceramicists, enamellers and sculptors, immediately started cutting, folding and making intricate and intriguing shapes.

I did know that I wanted to stitch the parts of the boxes together,  so I did what I always do in such circumstances, fell back on my old ideas, just to get me making – the innovation could come later when I had found something to physically work with. I  cut strips of paper, scored, folded then stitched them together in buttonhole and running stitch and of course some of them became hearts.

Then looking at them again this morning I realised they reminded me of something I had made earlier with a similar construction…..

folded steel mesh stilts for holding enamelled wares for firing

Above is a set of stilts I made for holding my work in an enamelling kiln. Aware that even the smallest stilt leaves an indented mark on the counter – enamelled backs I designed and folded metal mesh shpaes to be seen. These particular stilts were made several years ago to hold a large piece of lasered steel ( 60 cms wide), which had been stencilled with sifting enamel on the front.  But it also demonstrates that absolutely anything I have to make can be invested with the heart’s symbolic significance.

One thought on “Even More Hearts

  1. Nimmy’s heart one of our most treasured possessions. You got his expression just right – he always had this wistful look on his face, no matter how hard we tried to spoil him he couldn’t forget the dog shelter. The heart hangs on my bedroom wall at home, where I can admire him every day.

    While we were living in Milan poor Nimmie got sick and Tim flew back to take him to the vets to put him down. He then drove to our house in West Bridgford and buried him in the garden, with a cherry tree to mark the spot.

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