Susan Charters, Orillia, ON
Three Apples, Tea and Coffee
When I think about StorySave, I think about hearing Dan Yashinsky say once that to be a storyteller you need to know how to do two things; move furniture, and carry cups of tea. I remember it every time I am shifting chairs to make a story circle. Dan explained that the tea is carried to the elders, so that you can ask them for a story. StorySave is particularly good at carrying cups of tea.
My personal storytelling elders were my mother and her mother. Theirs were the first stories I listened to, but coffee, not tea, was on the table. When we went to stay with my grandmother in the village where my mother had grown up, we invariably had a breakfast of bacon, eggs and strong black coffee. I have memories of sitting in the back room, where the table was, near a big, south-facing window, with the sun streaming in. The air was full of sunshine and the smell of coffee and bacon and cigarettes. My mother and grandmother stayed long at the table, talking. They knew all the stories of the people in the village, their antecedents, their children, and they caught up on them all, a cup of coffee at a time.
So, my quilt block shows the coffee cup, the sunshine, and an apple. I'll have to explain the apple.
The coffee cup is made out of the material my mother used to make curtains for her kitchen when I was young. When my husband and I had our first house, my mother re-made her curtains - long taken down, but saved - into a gathered valence for my kitchen window. I have used it now in three kitchens. Although I have now taken it down, I saved it, of course. The pattern is not unlike the pattern on my grandmother's kitchen china. In fact, both of my grandmothers, quite by co-incidence, had the same china pattern.
The placemat is made of material my mother-in-law used to make a dress for my daughter.
The apple is there because in the eighties I had the most magnificent, bold apple wallpaper in my kitchen, and people started giving me apples. When I started storytelling, I heard the saying used to close 1001 Nights in Toronto: "Three apples fell from heaven; one for the teller, one for the listener, and one for the one who heard." That's when I knew what all the apples were about. My kitchen is still red and green. In fact, much of my house is red and green. While working on this block I realized my mother's mother's house, red brick with green shutters, and much loved, may be the reason.
Enjoy the quilt. And may you have much kitchen table conversation and lots and lots of stories over your cups of tea and coffee.