Letting go of a loved-one’s personal possessions is never easy and sometimes it can be quite a tall-order. My late-wife Jane was a very keen weaver and a notorious hoarder of wools! Recently, the sight of all of these amazing varieties of wools now just lying idle, spurred me on to finding a deserving home for them – all 12 baskets full!
It was a chance viewing of a local television news article back in January, which delivered the perfect solution to my quest. Clare Young, who like myself had been recently widowed from her long-time partner, was on her own quest to raise £50,000 for the hospice that cared for her late-husband Ken. Clare’s project, aptly named the Work of Heart Garden, was a project in which Clare and her army of knitters would create a large (four metres square to be exact) knitted garden, whilst appealing to the public to create and donate knitted hearts to be sold for the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice who provided expert palliative care for Ken, and support for Clare at a very difficult time for them both.
Calculating that such a feat would require a sizeable quantity of wool, I immediately made contact with the charity, and within days, Clare and helper (another Claire) were eagerly and excitedly loading-up their car with Jane’s huge wool stash.
What I was not expecting in return for this, was Clare’s very kind offer to knit a large potted sunflower (Jane’s favourite flower) in Her memory, to be installed within the final knitted garden which was to go on show to the public at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival in May. The use of Jane’s wools was a great way for Jane to contribute to such an amazing project, through the donation of her wools.
The more I found out about Clare’s project, the more I wanted to become involved in some way, but how? Clare would not certainly not appreciate my attempts to knit something, but one thing I could do was print!
All of Clare’s potted knitted creations all had a name knitted onto the pot. My suggestion to instead create a large label with a letterpress-printed personal message to tie to the stem of Jane's Sunflower , was accepted. So, out came a selection of wood type, some 18pt Caslon, some 18pt arabesque border pieces, gold ink and some favourite off-white recycled card. As well as print a personal message to Jane on one side of the label, I also wanted to print a paragraph as an explanation and appreciation of Clare’s tribute to Jane as part of her own tribute to Ken.
Fast-forward to the 12th May, and an emotional meet-up again with Clare who led me straight to Jane’s beautiful potted sunflower complete with its label amidst an amazing finished knitted garden. What I don’t believe Clare expected, was for the news of her creation to rapidly spread the globe via social, television, radio and printed media coverage in the run-up to the Malvern show. The number of visitors to the garden were at times overwhelming, and I am happy to say that Clare is already over £15,000 toward her £50k for Ken target! This has without doubt been the most emotional and meaningful piece of letterpress printing I have created to date!
If you want to know more about Clare’s story and to help her fundraise for the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, why not visit her Work of Heart Garden website at www.workofheartgarden.org