Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Red Letter Day

This white vest didn't stay white for very long.
My own fault - I mixed a load of washing!
It was an expensive vest and I saw red.
The vest comes with a detachable hooded scarf so I bought a pack of tulip red dye and crossed my fingers.
I also threw in my old beige mac.
I am pretty pleased with the results.
I spent so much time working on my wardrobe I forgot to plan today's workshop for the prison.
I had no idea what I was going to do.
I woke at 5am and looked in my cupboard for inspiration.
I noticed a bundle of letters my grandmother sent me when she went away to university.
There were so many questions I would have liked to ask her if she'd still been alive.
And that's when inspiration struck.
I devised a workshop asking the prisoners to think of a person they no longer see but still have questions for.
We spent several hours talking about the people on the periphery of our lives who still made an impact.
I tasked them to write a letter to that person and then we took the questions we had thought of and turned them into a piece of dialogue with the men imagining what the answers could be.
It was a fascinating voyage of discovery for us all.
Who was on the periphery of your early life but made a lasting imprint?

Vest: Isabella Oliver
Jeans: Gap
Shoes: Clarks


  1. What a terrific writing prompt. There was an older career woman my family knew - in those days she was called either sophisticated or a "spinster" - who lived a life so different from ours. I loved how she asked me questions and seriously listened. She never treated me as a child. When she was quite old (and I was about 50 myself!) I wrote her a long letter telling her how much I had always admired her. I wasn't able to attend her funeral but I understand her family exhibited my letter along with some old photo's etc.


  2. I love this writing prompt. I'm going to use it with my children in our school work.

    I think I have more questions for my grandmother than anyone else.

  3. Great idea. Is the background in your header the fabric of the dress? Adorable!

  4. Oooh, your dyed top turned out great! Was it tricky? I am thinking of over-dyeing a red dress that I just bought - it originally had super cheap dye, and some of the color came out in spots when I treated grease spatters with a very color-friendly enzyme cleaner.

    Since my grandma passed away a year and a half ago, I constantly wish that she was around to answer questions and offer advice. She was *so* wise and a very generous conversationalist, and there is so much that I wish I could ask her. At least we had a *lot* of great conversations before she died.

    I also wish I could have a conversation with my mom's parents, who both passed away ten years ago, as an adult. I wish I could find out more about their childhoods and know whether they are proud of the person I have grown up to become.

  5. with the vest- that is a neat trick! most people would have put it in a goodwill box or thrown it out, so kudos! :)

    I like the writing workshop you set up. excellent idea- I would always have wanted to talk to my grandfather (mom's dad). He died when I was little and he spoke german only- he was a WWII veteran and I would have loved to talk to him about his life, his likes, everything. I've only heard little tidbits from my mom- like his favorite color was green.

  6. I have added your new blog to my blog list!

  7. Love your workshop idea. Very inspirational. I miss my grandmother a lot. She went through two WWs and she remembered quite a lot about them, especially WW2. She had some tough time when her teenage son was taken away by the Nazi for helping in the Resistance. He went back home after two years looking so bad that she didn't recognize him. She was a great source of inspiration and strength. All the best. Ciao. A.

  8. Hi there-what a very inspirational and lovely post my dear, so pleased how your grandmothers letters transformed your workshop! Love the red vest too, lovely and vibrant!

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I am glad this post will be used by others.
    I'd love to hear how you get on.

  10. Great rework - I recommend dying to get rid of some stains and make things more flattering.

    I wish I'd known my mother better, she died the week before my 5th birthday, I have so many questions for her.