A studio full of memories
My grandmother’s name was Nina. She was born in Smyrna in 1912 and fled with her family to Greece four years later, during the Minor Asia destruction in 1922. She’s gone through a lot and she has become a hard woman, as all women in matriarchal Greek societies have been. And while she was difficult to live with, for me she was a second mother. As my parents were both working and she lived two floors above our apartment, she was the one who brought me up. I spent all my childhood years at her place, next to her, while she was taking care of me, singing me songs of her childhood, putting me on the sofa and opening the button box to reveal a glittery treasure- each button had a story to tell, the green mother-of-pearl one was adorning the cape of her own grandma during the wedding of a family member, the big round brown one was taken off her dad’s overcoat, the one he was wearing just before he got killed, the small pink one which looked like a rose belonged to a shirt of hers during her first date with my grandpa…and the button stories never ended. And she taught me how to cook. I’ve spent numerous hours of my early years climbing on the kitchen table to watch her knead the dough to bake must cookies, chop the onion and garlic to put on the minced meat mix along with cumin, to open the lid of the pot and check the rice that was simmering into the chicken broth, to squeeze the fresh spinach with her palms to get all the juice out and then make the most wonderful spinach fyllo pie of the whole world. Oh my, she was quite a cook, I can tell you! She died in 2004, 92 years old, happily surrounded by her family.
Her small apartment stayed as it was, only now silent and empty. Last year, as I was trying to figure out where to put all my yarn and supplies, which have started to occupy most of our living space at home, my mum threw the idea “why don’t you use grandma’s place to make a studio?” The idea has never crossed my mind until then, grandma’s house in my mind was linked only to my childhood years, not the adult-me. But it was a good idea. Plenty of space and light, no rent to pay, minimum works to be done and mostly, it was familiar, sweet and tender. And I said yes.
Two good friends have volunteered to help with painting the walls, setting up the shelves, installing some new kitchen lights and all I had to do was to carry my crochet stuff.
Goodness me, I had no idea how much yarn I’ve gathered home, until I started packing it. Once our house has emptied from bags, yarns, needles, crocheted blankets, cushions, toys, I realized that yarn was too overwhelming to stay put where it was.
Now the studio is ready, beautiful and colorful. A place inviting me to create. Maybe it’s because Nina’s spirit is still around, feeding me cookies, opening the button box and telling me stories 🙂