THIS IS DEFINITELY THE FIRST AND I DEFINITELY DID IT IN 1976!
It is in Cretan style.
I was influenced by my first, childhood needlework, which I embroidered for the first time in 1968, motivated by my aunt Mimosa’s embroidery. I fell in love with them just by looking at them, because I used to go to their house in Nea Smyrni all the time, which was just a few blocks up from our house. I was just a baby, but I remember it very well! I was not much older than five, that’s for sure! (Maybe even four, when I’d run like a tornado to meet my older cousin Lida!) Back then people would let children play out in the street all day long from an early age. They had nothing to fear!
I remember distinctly, when I was older, a fully grown seven year-old girl (!), feeling old and mature, next to my best friend Fani, who was exactly one year older than me! We were insanely inseparable. That’s when Nikakis’s sister was born; Nikakis was my brother Giorgos’s best friend; he was five at the time! He was the youngest in our little group. Then came my brother, Gogos, as he used to call himself, then the seven-year-old me, then Fani, who was eight and finally, our leader, the oldest, wisest, tallest and strongest, Miltos, who was Fanis’s brother and who was nine years old!
So, when they used to take the baby, little Valia, out in the pushchair, on the broad and safe pavement, they would supposedly put her under our protection.
We would look after the baby (but I’m pretty sure they were discretely looking out from some window!).
So us –the two ladies– would babysit her with great poise! We were responsible for the baby, but we never stopped playing hopscotch or catch and we always stayed close, somewhere around, keeping our eye on the baby.
What I’m trying to say is that we were completely free and pure! We would live in a state of complete innocence, children and grown-ups, parents and neighbours! We’d go to the Nea Smyrni Park, where we knew everyone by name. They’d talk to us softly, sweetly, and they’d greet us.
But that’s a different story.
Back to my aunt’s house, with those nice lacy doilies she used to embroider for the armrests of her armchairs and sofas.
Later on, at their current house, in Kifisia, they had all that beautiful embroidery made using various stitch patterns and designs, as well as different types of threads and yarns.
Even during the time of the Junta, when I was no older than 9, my aunt Mimosa made me embroider a pillowcase, my very own pillowcase!
And it seemed like a huge task to me, since I was a little girl, but I still remember how I yearned to finish that never-ending long canvas with its repeated patterns, its horizontal, broad lines in rows that went all the way to the bottom; the only thing that changed was the colour, all the shades of red and fuchsia and a bit of light green – sea blue!
A Cretan image!
The yarn, or better yet, the thread made of THICK cotton, was the first and last thread I used and I still use:
(DMC RETORS À BRODER no4)
It makes the embroidery thick, puffy most of the time, but it doesn’t have the insurmountable difficulty of embroidering with regular wool thread.
Regarding thick wool, I had started a canvas with regular wool 20 years ago. I’ve grown old and I still don’t feel like continuing it. But I’ve promised myself to finish it at some point…
Eventually, my mother took my finished embroidery work and she made a large pillow, which was put on the wooden rocking chair that we still have in dad’s upstairs studio, at my mother’s house, in Vrahati!
The pillow is still there, a bit worn out from use, but still going strong!
You see, it’s a part of the house and it can’t be moved! It ought to be, protected. I think I did it in 1968, forty-five years ago. Unfortunately, everything grows old, wears out and decays…
(As for the rocking chair, mum had bought it from the antique stores in Monastiraki, together with a friend of hers, the great painter Giannis Migadis. Back then, in 1965-1966, they’d go out together and buy old and elegant furniture for the country house in Vrahati, which was still under construction!).
Later on, immediately after the Junta, the chair was placed in the studio, but on the ground floor, where the pool table, a gift by the late Tasos Koliopoulos, was placed and we used it a lot.
I remember mum usually sitting there.
But that’s a different story. I’ll tell it another time