Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Do You Mind if I Knit?

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post.  Last week, I received some very sad news which knocked me for six, that a special lady and friend of mine tragically had passed away.  I wouldn't normally think to share personal news but the reality is that I know it will touch many of you, too.


Lots of you might instantly have thought of this lady on seeing the title of my blog post.  You will likely have loved the fabulous colourful blog of that name which gave a privileged glimpse into the talented world of Vanessa Cabban.  Vanessa had an immense creative talent; she was known for illustrating children's books for Walker Books which was her day job but we also knew her for her pretty watercolour painting, her stripy knitting and crochet and latterly, her fabulous papier mache creations.


You may or may not recall, depending on how long you have been reading this blog, that she and I used to indulge in an old-fashioned friendship in which we regularly took turns in sending a parcel of goodies and letters to each other.  Vanessa and I shared very similar tastes and had a knack of choosing and making things for the other which we really loved.  It was the best, most indulgent type of swap.  I realise this even more so now.  I still have all the lovely things Vanessa made for me.  From a wire basket she painted in a charming shade of duck egg blue to the stunning multi-coloured diamond-patterned crochet scarf.


Looking back this morning through all the old blog posts I wrote about our exchanges, I realise how many of the things Vanessa gave me surround me in my everyday life.  It's a testament to the things she chose for me, and the thought she put into doing so, that I appreciate them to this day.  It is rare to find a person on a similar wavelength to yourself.



Vanessa's spirit lives on in her colourful creations and mainly, in the inspiration she gave us all.  I remember her for her love of colour and pattern and I only have to look round my own home to see her influence.  



I'm going to indulge myself; every time I have a few quiet moments in the coming days, I'm going to re-read every last bit of her blog and remember the special, talented woman she was.

RIP Vanessa, I hope you are at peace now. Xxx




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There are references to Vanessa dotted throughout my blog but if you wish, you can read the original blog posts detailing my friendship with Vanessa and our creations for each other here here here here and here


31 comments:

  1. Beautiful words describing a beautiful friendship Hen. We have so many colourful memories to treasure of that lovely lady.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  2. What very sad news. She wrote a beautiful blog that gave us a peek into her very creative world. She was a very talented woman. Alovely tribute Hen x

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  3. You have made a lovely tribute to your dear friend and I am sure she will be with you in your heart for always. It will feel like a great loss.

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  4. I am so very sorry to read of Vanessa's passing. And Hen, here is a very strange thing. Earlier today, before I saw this post, I was thinking of Vanessa, and thought that I would have a look at her website, so to see if she was doing any new exhibitions.

    Vanessa was a very talented lady whom I consider myself very fortunate to having got to know during my early blogging years. I have many fabulous memories of trading messages, knitting ideas, and of course, I think of her love of color. Those polka dot shoes, the knitted dresses, the witty sculptures, brilliant crocheting.

    Oh I am so very sad now.

    xo

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  5. Hen I'm so sorry. As you so rightfully say hopefully she is at peace now. There are no words for family and friends left behind that can ease the sad loss and gut wrenching pain you all must feel. The only consolation is she lives on in so many creations. So many words and so many people she inspired all over the world. Each time you wear your scarf it will be like you are wrapped in her arms of friendship. No matter how hard these times are we needs to respect the choices someone makes. Even though they take that person away from the people who love them the most xx

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  6. So sad.She autographed some of her wonderful illustrations she had done for children's books for my grandchildren.What a loss.

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  7. So very sad. Her artwork is an inspiration.

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  8. I was so very sorry to hear of her passing. Beautiful tribute to your friend. May she rest in peace.
    XO Kris

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  9. Oh hen, I feel very sad at this news. You introduced me to Vanessa's blog and I so enjoyed her magical creations and the antics of her little dogs. I then realised we owned and enjoyed a few of her books, especially Bringing down the moon. I was sorry she stopped blogging and hoped that everything was getting better for her in real life. Big hug to you, my friend and rest peacefully dear vanessa xxx

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  10. Hen, that is such a sad loss of such a talented and very generous friend, you will miss her greatly. Her work is very recognisable as she was so creative. You are very lucky to have shared the time you had with her, I think that is what you have to remember now, and realise that you gave her as much pleasure in your friendship, and celebrate her life. Take care. xxx

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  11. Horrible news! I loved her blog and her creations a lot. RIP.

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  12. Hen.. I'm sending you a hug.. I loved her too.. but from afar. You are so lucky to have had such a close and loving friendship with her. The scarf she sent to you - she posted on her blog - and I corresponded with her about it.. I figured out her magic trick on it but she asked me not to share it as she wanted to do so on her blog.. but never got to it. She had so much going for her.. I don't understand how these things happen. You are lucky to have so many things she made to enjoy and think of her often. Hugs.. Teresa

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  13. This much loved and admired lady seemed to have passed me by in blog land. But how sad that her life was so short. However, Vanessa has left a wonderful legacy within her enormous circle of crafting friends. Hen, she will always remain, tucked away in a little place within your heart. X

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  14. The crafty world will have a Vanessa shaped hole in it now. Such a talented lady who will be sorely missed

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  15. It is so sad. I had been following her for a long time, Her work was wonderful, and loved her papier mache.
    Julie xxxxxxx

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  16. Oh Hen, I was so sad to hear this news earlier and am so sorry for your loss. I used to love reading her blog and especially enjoyed the delightful photos of her modelling her creations. I was so delighted to get a reply from her when I contacted her to say how much the children and I loved her illustrations. She seemed to have a beautiful, gentle soul and I hope that she is now at peace xx

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  17. Lovely tribute to your friend who was admired by so many for her talent and inspiration. I was so sorry that so much sadness came to her. Rest in Peace, Vanessa.

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  18. What a lovely post Hen. Such sad sad news, so shocked. She was an amazingly creative beautiful intuitive lady. The cat sculpture I commissioned her do after losing my gorgeous cat. Vanessa was so kind, generous and took so much time making sure every detail was right, we were amazed. I remember her and my daughter both coming up with the idea of Garfie gently playing with butterfies to represent his gentle nature. I thought how on earth is she going to do that....well she did with the most fabulous effect, I was utterly transfixed when we received him so beautifully wrapped, unwrapping him to discover the exquisite Garfie. Thinking of you Vanessa. So sorry you've lost a lovely friend Hen.

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  19. Hello Hen, what sad news its really hard when you loose a dear friend. Just read your post of when you received a parcel from her. It has inspired me, I am going to send my friend who lives down South (I'm in North Yorkshire) a regular supply of little gifts over the next year. Thank you, all the best for the New Year. Take care. Sharon x

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  20. I've read about Vanessa's passing on another blog today. She'll be missed. I didn't know her blog but now I won't get the chance.

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  21. I found Vanessa's beautiful work through your blog some years ago. I only heard of her passing yesterday, & I immediately thought of you. I never had any contact with Vanessa, just admired her from afar, but I just can't stop thinking about her, & knowing the world has lost somebody very special. Hugs to you Hen, you lost a lovely friend.

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  22. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, its so hard to lose people that we have so much in common with. Hugs to you from across the pond.

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  23. I'm very sad and shocked to hear this. I discovered your blogs at the same time through your exchanges and enjoyed her blogging very much. I was sorry that her life went askew, she had so much talent (I bought several of the books she illustrated for my grandchildren). RIP.

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  24. A sad post indeed but remember the special friendship you had and how she obviously liked you as well. Put her in that special place in your heart we keep for people who have just that bit extra special to us.

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  25. There have been so many blog posts about Vanessa, she touched so many lives, inspired so many women to craft. Her sense of style was unique to her. When I first came across her blog I couldn't afford her sculptures, now I can and it's sadly too late. I only 'knew' her through shared comments on our blogs, wouldn't begin to call myself a friend, but I found the news of her death, and reading the newspaper report, incredibly sad. I wrote a brief blog post about her when I heard, and paused for a moment or two on the day of her funeral. I hope her family got to read some of the many tributes to her and were comforted in some small way. Thank you for sharing your memories of her too.

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  26. Truly, this is one of the loveliest tributes I have seen to date although every single one is as precious as Vanessa herself! I cried and cried at the time of her funeral, thinking of her poor family and close friends; She touched so many of us. Even when she ceased to blog after her seperation from Huge, I still felt content knowing she was in the world sharing her creative beauty around her. And now the world is less joyful and colourful as she has gone for good.

    Vanessa was an amazing woman and I, with so many others, feel lost without her.

    Warmest wishes,

    Stephanie

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  27. I'm so sorry. She was a very special Lady.
    Hugs

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  28. So sad to hear about your friend. She was very talented and we love her little paper sculptures.

    Julie

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  29. I'm so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an incredible person, and you're right that few people in one's life are so very much on one's own wavelength.

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