The creation of an apron has always been a simple but satisfying sewing project for Family Studies (formerly known as Home Ec) students and young 4-Hers. When I was growing up, my busy Mom always tied on an apron to protect her clothing while cooking and cleaning for our large household. I have seen numerous photos of my Oma clad in her generous apron – on every day but a Sunday. We sometimes wear an apron here at the studio. Heck, I even bought a lovely apron while on a holiday last year – for a souvenir!
Aprons, a functional item, but until last week, I did not imagine that I would see a collection of aprons as art.
I had read about an exhibit, One Thousand Aprons Waving Goodbye, created by Margaret Nicholson, a professor of fine arts at St. Francis Xavier University. So my Mom and I took the drive to The Bethany in Antigonish in search of signs to lead us to the exhibit. We found it on a lovely well travelled trail, and as we drove ‘over hill and dale’ we came upon one thousand aprons hanging on lines, beautifully displayed, two clothespins per. Each was different and reminiscent of the past by fabric, design and decoration.
Functional became art, a gentle and reflective tribute to those who wore aprons while engaged in domestic work caring for families, those keepers of the home and hearth.
Does the image of an old apron help you conjure up memories of affectionate attention, of wonderful kitchen aromas, homemade bread, soft warm cookies?
After that beautiful experience, an apron is no longer just an apron.