Monday, 12 October 2009
Hope and Elvis
Can you imagine driving through Sherwood forest and the beautiful Clumber estate to get to work? That's what Louise Presley does every morning, as she wends her way from Retford to the Harley Gallery in Welbeck near Worksop. This is DH Lawrence country, and it looks completely stunning in the early sunshine. Louise runs workshops from her studio, and I was there to hold a hat-making day, arranged some time ago and incorporated into my month's trip. In the spirit of my Newsnight venture Louise kindly offered me a bed for the night - I was originally going to camp but she talked me out of it - and given the weather and the long drive, I was very glad I'd accepted. Louise is a truly inspiring person. Her studio is crammed with vintage fabrics and quirky objects found in car boot sales, skips and the like. A bundle of old bills hanging from a hook bought for a couple of quid, old photographs, tablecloths embroidered with the names of diners. People donate their old scrap too - she was recently given a haul of a hundred or so pieces of church linen. Everything Louise makes has a history. Even her clothes are patched over many times. I could have stayed there forever - making and mending to my heart's content!