Celebrating love in the small spaces

Artwork by Issy Knightley

“We spilt tea on Bridget’s (their housemate) doona and doona cover and so we spent four hours in the morning stomping on it with no clothes on and I felt like nobody expects you to love someone when you’re in a bathtub stomping tea out of a doona but it’s like… it reminds you that this person loves you and you love them and you do all these ridiculous things together…because you love each other.”

Issy Knightley made this series for her partner Beth for their anniversary. We chatted to Issy about the piece, being in a relationship with Beth and how she finds their love in the small spaces: in toast Beth always burns, in the cold spots of the shower, in sheet forts and washing tea stains out of a doona cover in the bathtub..

Beth Raywood-Cross who wrote “Vegemite, fairbread, savoys and butter” (yes, it’s about Issy).

What was the Inspo? 

So a number of years ago I had this idea for a piece…I’d never quite found the thing I wanted to make it about and so I sorta just kept it in the back of my brain and then I met Beth, and very shortly after I met her we fell very deeply in love and we started quite  a committed relationship. From that I had this space that was created for me -that she’s created and that our life has created that I’ve never felt before and this sense of belonging and warmth and um… just being really comfy in this little bubble and I needed to express to her how she creates that and so for our first anniversary I made her this piece. It’s one of my favourite pieces that I’ve ever made… I look at it and I just feel so much love and I feel like I’ve explained to her how kind she is towards me. 

What was the reception? How did she take it? 

We went to Dayleford for a week away for our anniversary and I told her her present hadn’t come and I hid it under the bed…it’s like a huge piece haha. I brought it out and she cried. It hangs up in our bedroom and it’s very lovely. 

What is your favourite thing about being a relationship with Beth? 

Hmmm… that’s such a hard question. I just feel like I know where I’m going, y’know? I feel completely supported… I had a bit of trauma through high school because I have two learning disabilities but she makes me feel so incredibly intelligent and worthwhile and… it’s probably not even Beth at all it’s just how she makes me feel haha it’s so self-centred! But it’s true, I feel like I could fly around her. 

We have these relationships with our parents and our friends and the people around us and those relationships are so vital to who we become, but then you fall in love with someone. They think you’re the best person in the world and you think they’re the best person in the world so it makes you feel like you really can do anything, you know? Because you have a constant bed of support and it’s amazing. 

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