A special commission
My grandson, three year old Luka, knows not to jump on or play with my “good” cushions: the ones I tapestried and made, and the beautiful “iris” cushion which was my dear friend Margaret’s wedding present.
Recently, though, he looked at the sofa cushions and said, “Nanna, these are beautiful. I’d like a cushion.”
I asked what picture he’d like, expecting him to say Trucks or Construction Vehicles- his current greatest love. His answer surprised me: “I’d like birdies in trees, Nanna. Pink birdies, coz pink’s my favourite colour!”
Shocking pink. It’s a guy thing.
Pink is indeed his favourite colour. He has a pink rabbit lunch plate and can be induced to sleep at night hugging a heart-shaped pink cushion. His best friend, 4 year old Leo, also loves pink. Vivid, shocking pink. It’s a guy thing.
Luka enjoys watching me work on tapestries. We’ve been singing “Do-re-me” from The Sound of Music recently, and he likes to observe my tapestry “needle pulling thread”.
As the work progressed, I’d show Luka the canvas and get his feedback. At first, he stared at the picture quizzically, and finally said, “I like the birds and the trees, Nanna, but I want a cushion!“ There followed an explanation of cushion-making, which involved turning an existing cushion inside-out to demonstrate how the tapestry becomes the pillowcase, and the pillow goes inside.
I proposed including yellow birds, but this was not acceptable. A blue bird did not meet the client’s expectations, and has been rendered less visible by the similar shade of sky. At the last minute, the client said he did want a yellow bird. You might see an odd little chicken-like creature towards the bottom of the canvas.
Sometimes he sleeps on the armchair by his bed
Finally the great work was complete, and I gave it to Luka on the day of his baby brother’s first birthday party. He was thrilled.
It now lives on the armchair by his bed.
“Birdies in a tree” may not be a masterpiece or my most impressive creation, but every stitch represents love: pure, joyous, generous love between a little lad and his Nanna.