It's not often we find a way to immortalise a memory in something tangible. Flowers are so transient and short-lived, but when they inspire memories of people or places it's comforting to be able to hold onto them. So it was a real thrill for me to receive my latest new mugs into the floral mug garden here - Lavender and Forget me not. These two are just as pretty and the same great British quality as the rest of the range, but they are poignant for different reasons.
Firstly my Lavender mug features artwork which comes directly from pencil drawings of the Lavender at my family home and garden in Kent. This Lavender is not only quintessentially English and a mainstay of pretty English gardens across the country, but it is a link back to childhood memories for me. I remember balmy summer days playing by the front door of our house where the Lavender grew, as I watched the bees buzzing around the flowers, their gentle buzz and hum mixed with the gentle trickling sound of the little stream there, the beautiful scent filling the air.
My mum was the one who maintained the flower beds and dug the weeds, and she loved Lavender. She loved the smell of it - in the bath, in an oil burner, soap - so the smell reminds me of her.
Apart from whatever individual memories each of us may hold (and I think it's one of those plants and flowers that hold memories for many of us) it is also renowned for its calming, relaxing properties. So to have a pretty mug featuring some gorgeous English Lavender from my childhood home is the perfect thing to drink my tea from while I relax and dream in the garden now.
The forget me not (full disclosure) was not drawn at the mill, but is - like all the other flowers - totally inpsired by it. Not only is it one of those flowers I remember from childhood - those tiny little blue flowers with such a romantic and enigmatic name - but it is a flower with great symbolic meaning in our modern times, the flower of the Alzheimer's Society. For me this is a poignant link since both my parents suffered with, and died from Alzheimer's. The idea behind making my art into mugs was born out of our family's love of drinking tea in the garden, and this pastime became so much more important during their illness - time just to sit together, contemplate, chat and connect through the peaceful medium of a good mug of tea.
Incidentally I was speaking to one of my neices recently who said that the Forget me not was a flower that reminded her sister of my dad, their grandad; he apparently spoke to her about these flowers at the mill when she was very little. So there is another connection. This is what I love about flowers - their links to particular places and people for all of us.
I am donating 10% of any profits from these mugs to the Alzheimer's Society, a cause dear to my heart. Living with, and supporting someone with Alzheimer's is an ordeal, but to be able to try and make a difference means a great deal I hope you will spead the word.
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