This week, I want to share with you some colourful and unusual cushion covers. Over the last couple of months I have been working on a large-scale textile panel (there will more about that in a future blog-post) with a sewing group in Newcastle linked to the North-East WEA (Workers’ Educational Association). Rachel Richman, the maker of these cushion covers, is an active member of the sewing group and on the first occasion I met her, she mentioned that she was working at home on a project using fabrics from Mozambique inherited from her aunt, Naomi Richman.
A week or so later, Rachel brought in some of the pieces she was working on: a series of very individual cushion covers which were being pieced, quilted, embroidered and sometimes beaded (see below) before being made up and then sent out to friends and family (as you can see from the neat label on the one below).
The cover below (and the one at the end of the post) has embroidered on it a line from the charming 1970s’ song ‘This summer I went swimming’ by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. (There’s a link to a recording of it at the end of the post, if you aren’t familiar with it!) This makes reference to the fact that Rachel’s aunt was a keen swimmer, who regularly swam in the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath.
Rachel’s aunt Naomi Richman was a remarkable woman. To quote from the obituary written by Rachel and published in The Guardian in July 2018…
Naomi was born in Leeds to Louis, a shopkeeper, and his wife, Gerti (nee Wootliff), who were second generation Estonian Jewish immigrants. After Roundhay high school in Leeds she studied medicine at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, then pursued clinical training at Middlesex hospital, where she advocated that parents of children in hospital should, contrary to the then current practice, be allowed to visit at all times of the day. Her psychiatric training was at the Maudsley hospital in south London and Columbia University Medical School in New York. (Copyright The Guardian)
There is a link to the full obituary at the end of this post, in which you can read about Naomi’s life and career during which she developed particular expertise in how to treat children affected by war. Her work took her to many places which had experienced conflict, including Mozamique.
This cover has been machine-quilted and includes the embroidered maxim ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere’.
Rachel has decided to do a sponsored trek in memory of her remarkable aunt to benefit a charity which was dear to her aunt’s heart. You can see a photo of Rachel and read about her trek by clicking the link at the end of this post.
For the link to the song ‘This summer I went swimming’ on You Tube click here.
This is the link to the obituary for Naomi Richman https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jul/31/naomi-richman-obituary
This is the link to Rachel’s Richman’s fundraising page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rachel-richman1
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