Julia Blackburn – in conversation with Diana Quick (Halesworth Arts Festival 2015)

I think it was half way through I noticed Julia was wearing odd boots. The crossed over foot was jigging to the beat of Diana reading from Threads (The delicate life of John Craske). Indeed two remarkable women, both comfortable with themselves and each other. Julia, so quick to laugh with ease, enjoys the finding of the mirth.

John Craske was a fisherman from Sherringham, until he became ill – was it ME or MS? who knows, but he took to his bed for years. Looked after by his wife, he began the ‘drifting’ into painting and tapestry. Untrained, but also undistracted by market, he was prolific, and his work is indeed remarkable, individual, and memorable. Craske painted every surface in his home, his wife prepared the doors with distemper.

He lived for a time in East Dereham – which I think Julia described as a god forsaken place. Julia weaves in others stories, along with her own, (looking after her father) into the life of Craske. One being Jane and the Potter, who looked after Mr Hugger. Yes, Jane Ivimy. Suffolk full of these old men.
Such a warm encounter, witnessing this conversation.

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