Country Comforts by Ina Wichers
I first sewed patchwork hexagons with my grandmother on summer holidays in Jutland (Denmark), when I was very young. She was a brilliant seamstress and taught me well. The love of sewing and other handicrafts seems to run in my family with my mother, her sister, her daughter and myself, all enjoying the challenge. In my grandmother's home, dressmaking, tailoring, knitting, lace making were all commonplace and it seemed natural to me that I should follow in the family tradition.
I graduated in Modern Languages, and afterwards attended at the School for Art and Craft in Copenhagen, which at the time was considered the best in Scandinavia. I learnt printing, weaving and embroidery. We also dyed wools, and generally had an all round art education whilst having a wonderful time..
As is the way I married and had children, and travelled abroad with husband and children, finally being seconded to America, where we bought a house in North Carolina. This is where I took up patchwork again; it seems that everybody was doing it and the shops with material were mouth-watering. It was just before the bicentennial, and there was a wave of renewal of traditional folk crafts, and a real sense of nostalgia. It seems it was the new beginning of both traditional and innovative uses of patchwork and quilting, as much for artistic expression as for mere utility. I made dresses for my little girl with matching pinafores, and used the leftovers from these to make full size patchwork bedspreads. I had friends who were very inspiring, and we made everything for the house.
When I returned to England I went to Chichester College to study City & Guilds Embroidery. Ironically in order to have a showcase for the various techniques I built my first grownup dolls' house. Then came more textiles, furniture and accessories, selling at fairs and meeting other miniaturists. This opened a whole new world, and I have loved everything miniature since.
From early childhood I've always been happy to play with colours. For miniature work they need to be a little subdued to fit into a dolls' house. This is a challenge I relish. I love small patterns, especially floral ones, which add to the variety and the possibility of combining. I now live on the Costa Blanca in Spain where the sun shines most days of the year, and it is wonderful to be able to work in full daylight with beautiful colours. Like any other patch worker, I'm always on the look out to add to my collection of fabrics.
All of my work is original, and some is based on traditional patterns. I only make one of each, but recently I have prepared a few kits, in case a customer would want to sew one herself. They are quite straight forward to make, but you need to be very careful, and allow time to do it accurately. They are naturally stitched by hand, and also look good framed, hanging on your wall in a full size house.
I make 1/12th scale furniture of all sorts, and have recently been making beds, shelves and chests of drawers to accommodate fabrics , sewing notions and books.
Some times I like to work in full scale; bed quilts and picture wall hangings, and only wish there was more time in a day, because I always have a lot of ideas for the next thing.
Post Box 394
03330 Alicante SPAIN