Thursday, August 25, 2011

Meet Aunty Elsie

Actually she was my Great Aunty Elsie, my Grandma's elder sister.

Hopes and Dreams (17cm x 24 cm)

Sadly I never knew my Grandma as she died before I was born so Aunty Elsie was a sort of surrogate Grandma.  She was born in 1899 - I'm not sure when or why this photo was taken, but she looks a lot younger here than in her wedding photos of 1928, so I'm guessing it was taken around 1920, maybe her 21st birthday?

Her and her husband lived in Cottenham (near Cambridge) and were fruit and flower growers.  There are pictures of them from the 1930s with strawberries and tulips they'd grown for market.

She sometimes looked after us as children and although they’d sold most of their smallholding by then, I remember feeding a donkey in the orchard behind her house.  When I was in my early 20s I worked nearby and used to call and see her every week.  She gave me tea and tinned salmon sandwiches, taught me how to harvest asparagus, and told me off for suggesting that at 86 she shouldn’t be up a ladder picking plums!  She talked lots about people and relatives that I didn’t really know but had probably met every year on Feast Sunday without knowing who they were!  

She was a lovely lady and I hope she would like what I’ve done with her photo.  After some editing in photoshop I printed it onto calico.  Then I added vintage lace, velvet, recycled sari ribbon and some vintage buttons. 

I used to think of her a lot when I had my allotment – especially when harvesting my asparagus as when she died I was lucky enough to be given this:

 her asparagus knife.


Miriam Weaver said...

That's a lovely blog, it brought back memories of my Nan, she taught me so much. How to cook, and most important to me now, she started me off crocheting, that led onto my fascination with textiles! I'm sure your Great Aunt Elsie would be over the moon to see what you have produced from her lovely image.

LaziDazi said...

What a lovely story and a beautiful visual memory of her.

Toffeeapple said...

Those are delightful memories to have. I had two Elsies in my life, my Mother and an Aunt.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

Ah, this is lovely, both your words and your artwork

Magic Cochin said...

Your post has surfaced my own memories of my Gran - a fruit and flower grower from Willingham (about 5 miles from Cottenham).
My childhood memories are of boxes of flowers, taking cuttings, harvesting asparagus and picking plums using those tall tapering wooden ladders.

My Grandad was one of the carriers who took the fruit and flowers to the railway stations - I wouldn't be surprised if they had known each other.

A very different world from today.

Treasure your asparagus knife.


Cottage Garden said...

A wonderful tribute to your Great Aunt Elsie Su - the frame is so evocative of her era as a young girl.

What a thrill to own such a treasured item as an antique asparagus knife.


marigold jam said...

Lovely post and fabulous photo and its beautiful frame - I am sure she would have loved it too. Lucky you to have your own asparagus and even a knifte to harvest it with complete with many happy memories.

Julie said...

What a beautiful piece of art in memory of your Great Aunt.

Anna said...

Beautiful work Sue - the colours and textures you use are so complimentary to the photo. Coming from relatively near to Cottenham, I am intrigued to know what Feast Sunday is, as I have not come across the expression before :)

Jo said...

I'm sure she would love what you've done with her photo. I loved reading this post, one of my hobbies is genealogy and I'm always interested to read about people's history.

Xela said...

Fantastic fabric collage!

Jensters said...

What a wonderful memory for you.....stunning.

artymess said...

This is gorgeous i missed this post ......I love what you have done to this photo ...maybe its given me some ideas for what I can do with my old photos ...xx

Lynette (NZ) said...

Hi there - my friend sent me a link to your poppies and I have enjoyed having an explore. Your work is so lovely that I have shared a link in my latest blog post :-)