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Colour grinding

I’ve been grinding away at this poem ever since I interviewed Heather Goodwin on 22nd April, and I’ve decided it’s time to post it! I don’t know whether or not it’s finished. Many of the pieces I write will be published in a book and some of them will be changed when I get to that stage and see them afresh. On Friday morning I will be running a writing workshop and pieces written as a result may also be included in the book. We will be using archive films as inspiration by attending the Museum’s monthly Reel Stories before the workshop. No previous writing experience is necessary so do come and join me if you can. Full details are on the Workshops page.

Colour grinding 1956
for Heather Goodwin

“Fancy a sweet?”
a packet of pebbles, like pieces of amber:
gum arabic, strained through muslin
with boiling water. Kept in a jar.
To stop the colours from rubbing off.

Just a touch added to paint on a marble slab
(not too much or it comes out black)
grind it with a palette knife or painstakingly
round and round with a marble muller,
smooth out the grit.

Colours in sets, from light to dark
to shade the leaves and delicate flowers.
Testing my gamut, the senior designer
presses his knuckles across the card.
I’m hoping that it won’t rub off!

Fifty years on, Carpet Trades
is Sainsbury’s.
I’m looking for paint in a DIY shop.
I know my colours.
It never rubbed off.

© Heather Wastie
April 2013

Thanks also to Sandra Ash and Mick Lowe for additional information used in this poem.

Heather (on the left in the photo with Sandra Ash) went on to become a Senior Designer and won the Royal Society of Arts Carpet Bursary in 1962. Goya was one of her designs, inspired by the image of a flamenco dancer. She now works as a volunteer at the Museum of Carpet.




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