Mary Crabb


I WILL REMEMBER HIM at the Oxmarket Gallery

Following on from my last blog post, Making Time, the work has been taken down and the motifs from I Will Remember Him have now been returned to their flat boxes. The backing material rolled around a tube, packed in a bag. Significant Figures: remembrance through making at the Oxmarket Gallery has ended. I spent thirteen days in the Gallery, meeting and greeting, sitting near to the piece. Hung opposite the door, it was probably the first item seen by visitors. It was interesting to see how many were drawn towards it – intrigued or not sure what it was. I encouraged visitors to read the accompanying booklet for the exhibition, but some preferred to ask me about it. It was a pleasure to be able to share the story belonging to my Grandmother Elsie, but also my story as a maker. In a sense the work has been a collaboration. 

Q How long did it take to make? 
A In truth I do not know, but each motif took about half an hour to prepare the materials and longer to make, about an hour and a half each. The backing cloth took two days to measure and make. Prior to making I spent time experimenting with paper, threads and techniques. 

Q Did you cut up Bibles and use the paper? 
A No, the paper was blank Bible paper (paper used in the printing of Bibles). I handwrote each strip (about six for each motif), which gives the speckled appearance when twisted. 

Q How did you hold the work whilst you were weaving the thread across the twisted paper strips? 
A I used a lace pillow and pins to hold each loop of paper in place. The first round was the most difficult to keep in place, after that you could take your hands away! 

Q Why are some of the motifs woven in red? 
A In my experience of grieving, the pain of loss can last for years. The red represents the years of grieving. 

Q Why is the red thread on the last motif hanging loose? 
A My Grandmother died in 1992, it is an incomplete year. The red thread hangs from the date she died.

I do not know when I Will Remember Him will next be taken out of its boxes and hung again. I hope it won’t be too long. With the passing of Armistice Day this year and the centenary of the end of the First World War, for me it represents the power of remembrance. I have to thank my Grandmother, whose generation experienced WW1 first hand, for teaching me the value of remembering. MAC 11.2018