This is a picture of Eva Joyce and her grand-daughter. She is probably teaching the child how to make something. She was a maker, an extremely practical woman, yet also very creative and imaginative… Just a geordy housewife from Gateshead: blinded in one eye, but never self-pitying. Poor, but with a home always filled with the delicious aroma of baking. Her creativity spawned a play which has so far involved over 300 people in its making. A play set in a haunted house filled with joy and music and laughter and heartache… A play which has travelled, and will continue to travel, sharing stories, questioning our attitudes to hoarding and stitching, and taking with it an ever-growing patchwork quilt of stories. Because that’s me standing next to her, with the Peter Pan haircut, aged about six, and I’ve always remembered the link between crafting and storytelling, because of my “Eva Gramma”.
Needless to say, she’s in Patchwork Lives, and her story always moves people, because she did something extraordinary and magical, something which transcended death itself. And she continues to inspire people who never met her, in performances and talks. That’s the power of stories.
I was chatting to an artist yesterday, and he said that making and storytelling go back to the caves and the campfire – which they do of course. So I won’t tell you what magical thing Eva Gramma did. You’ll have to come and hear her story, along with all the others… The campfire will be lit at 7pm tonight, in Lowdham Village Hall. The flames will flicker, and shadows will dance on the walls, taking the forms of people long gone, but living once again, not forgotten.