Granny’s Lumpensammlung

Granny's Lumpen

My Gandma is a very special and amazing Lady. She’s about to turn 90 and still rules the house, even though she has a hard time walking around. She lived through the war and that formed her for the rest of her life. Nothing ever gets thrown out if still a smidgen of life left in it. Her house hasn’t changed since I can remember. Most things I played with as a kid are still there for my nieces and nephews to play with. When I stay at her place I sleep in the children’s room on the original three piece mattress. In the drawers are the baby clothes we all wore. A lego castle, we all played with, sits on top of the wardrobe, and a fabric bunny sits on the chair….he’s one of my earlier memories. When I enter my grandma’s house I feel like coming home, a feeling which I deeply cherish. It’s a sense of familiarity and belonging and there is an inherent beauty in it.

My granny loves order and cleanness. She will clean her bathroom every day and scrub the shower after every use, no matter what time of the night. She also has a very thorough way of dealing with her washing. Friday nights are dedicated to it……other people would spend it in the pub or with a glass of wine, but she will spend all night preparing the washing, mending, ironing, etc…often till the next morning. Needless to say she is a night person, while I am off with the fairys long before!!

You needed to know a little about her to understand the beauty of her ‘Lumpensammlung’ as my mum and her sister call it. A Lumpen is a rag, and my granny has a beautiful collection of them. They start of as towels or dishcloth or anything else, and than eventually become a cleaning rag. These will be mended, often till there is nothing of the original fabric left. Often they get stitched together like patchwork or doubled up for another lifespan. The family tried to rid her of this beautiful collection and gave her modern throw away rags, but they just got kept in the cupboard for the next generation, neatly folded away. She just can’t justify to throw away a perfectly good rag. I think it may give her a sense of satisfaction and being, a sense of worth. I guess you could call my grandmother a visionary of the sustainability movement which is getting very popular at the moment.

Anyway, when I saw her using these beautiful pieces of art for cleaning, I asked her if I could have them, as they are amazing pieces of art in their inherent beauty. They just talk by themselves. This is the story of the ‘Lumpensammlung’, which now features in my paintings about houses and homes. They tell a common story.