A Crone’s Garden

by Liz Perkins

Clay Head 2005

Clay Head 2005, ©Karin Hessenberg/Museums Sheffield. Click for a larger image

This summer, I made a Crone’s garden. Not with plants, but with fabric. In July, I found myself on a silent retreat entitled Gardens of the Spirit, at Woodbrooke, the Quaker College in Birmingham. I’d booked it months before, attracted mainly by the silence and the working method - I forgot all about the theme until the detailed information about the programme arrived a couple of weeks before. I was not pleased – I’d spent quite a lot of time in the previous six weeks trying to create some order in my own overgrown garden and the last thing I wanted was more gardening. Or so I thought.

The course started with a plethora of postcards –we had to wander round and choose two each, which would travel through the retreat with us. Or, more accurately, let two choose us. And this one chose me. Quite obviously Crone – wise, insightful, benign, but also shrewd, a stander-of-no-nonsense. From then on, the retreat went Her way. Quite clearly, she had to have a garden. I bent the gentle suggestions of the facilitators to suit.

Having found my Crone I started to feel for what kind of garden she would have. Woodbrooke has a good art room so there was a lot to play with. I found a straightforward piece of embroidery fabric in the bottom of a box of bits and then collected lots of other things. I was intrigued that I didn't feel the garden ought to have walls. Fuzzy boundaries through fraying the fabric felt right. Being frayed at the edges feels fairly normal, to me…. Read More...