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My lifelong addictions

This word got me thinking hard. I felt I had to look for a positive, life-long ‘addiction’. And I found two: MAKING – and POLITICS.

I assume that all members of Viewpoints 9 are addicted to making. I remember making things from when I was about 4 years old – just sticking bits of fabric and other materials onto a piece of card to make up a picture. From age 7, I graduated to the sewing machine, and spent long hours designing and making dolls’ clothes. Throughout all phases of my life I made things, mostly in fabric and fiber – clothes, knitted things, dolls and toys. In the early 1980s I became a professional doll and teddy bear designer, maker, teacher and author. In the mid-1990s I changed to quilting, and have been addicted to it ever since.

Politics have also formed part of my life since an early age. An early memory is of the newspaper headlines about the Korean War. Peron was President of Argentina when I was a child. My father was a Russian émigré, very interested in political matters, and politics was a common subject of conversation in my house; I always listened attentively and asked questions.

Around the age of 10 or 12 I started becoming concerned about where rubbish and waste went – although the terms ecology, sustainability, and climate change were not yet in my vocabulary.

When I went to university in Argentina political discussions were our daily diet. I participated in many marches and demonstrations matters ranging from the education budget to supporting the Castro government in Cuba. Of course, Che Guevara was Argentinian, and that made us proud.

When I came to England in 1967 to study at the London School of Economics, I participated in discussions, demonstrations, marches – particularly about the big upheaveal in France in May 1968.

Then came the awareness of the Vietnam War, and the CND movement (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). We marched throughout London with tens of thousands of other concerned people.

In the early 1980s we joined the Labour Party. For many years when we lived in London we supported and worked with our local MP (Member of Parliament) – Jeremy Corbyn - now, against all odds, Leader of the Labour Party. A man of incredible integrity and honesty, who more than deserves to become Prime Minister of Britain.

My husband resigned from the Labour Party over the invasion of Iraq. I kept my (inactive) membership and concentrated on my making – by then, the quilting bug had bitten hard.

On our move from London to Somerset we found that Wells is a very conservative area, so politics took a back seat. Then the Conservative government called a referendum on membership of the European Union, and now the country is careering headlong towards the abyss that is leaving the EU.

Since Jeremy Corbyn stood as a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party a couple of years ago, and massively won the popular vote, membership of the Labour Party throughout the country has grown out of all calculations. The Wells Labour Party became very active. We discovered we have a lot more support among the general public than we ever dreamt of. So now politics is taking a renewed place in my life.

Well, I got carried away. I usually don’t mix quilting and politics – they are separate compartments of my life. Now I’m thinking seriously about MAKING a quilt about POLITICS for this challenge…

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