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Remembering my mother – artist and inspiration

25 years ago today I lost my mother to cancer. While there is much I can say about the experience of losing someone so young, I will leave that for another day. But today I reflect on the incredible joy she brought to my life. She was a remarkable artist and craftswoman. She would weave gorgeous tapestries, rugs and blankets on this enormous loom in our house. The sheer physical presence of such a great piece of artistic equipment, was a very important signifier in my house, that art was important and it should fill large parts of your life. The work she created was deeply connected to her Swedish roots, and it also infused much of the surrounding landscape in which she lived. Many of the wools she utilised were hand dyed using heather and other local plants, so the land was literally part of her art. In addition to showing me that art could be both beautiful and functional (I still enjoy curling up under one of her blankets), she had a fierce sense of social justice. Fairness and equality underpinned all that she did, and that has stayed with me in all that I do both personal and professional. She blazed bright and hard in the time she was here, and I carry that fire onwards each day. Birgitta Kristiansson (Lisa to her friends) was a true torch in the dark.

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