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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Saturday, May 15, 2021

David Page Coffin

I have had to let the news of David's passing sit for a bit before I could write about him.

David was a good friend of mine. We knew a lot about each other and I could tell many stories. But it seems to me that so much of that is personal now.

I got to know David when I first wrote for Threads and he was my editor. He was a wonderful editor, the best that magazine ever had.

One day, about 20 years ago, he called me. "I've just read the Shipping News and I am going to come and visit you."

Now of course that book was written about Newfoundland and a long way from my little house in Halifax but he came anyway.  I moved one kid out of a bedroom and sent him into the bunk bed with his brother, and David stayed very happily in a boy's room and slept in a narrow single bed.

He was the kind of person who spoke to children as if they were adults. My three kids really enjoyed having him here. He just fit right into family life. We talked about everything.

Over the years David and I kept in touch and saw each other in person when we could at various sewing shows.

We used to write each other about our schemes and plans and sometimes our worries. He was the kind of friend who if he read that something was bothering you in an email would just phone you up to discuss right away rather than write back.

He had of course the most wonderful voice.

What I want to tell you about David Page Coffin is this.

He was the most genuinely authentic person I have ever met. He was exactly who he was, author, sewer, musician and painter, and there was not one thing about him that was not original and authentic.

He was the real deal, absolutely the real deal.

I also think it is important to understand that everything he did was motivated by his generosity to other people. He always had time for you. He truly respected everyone he talked to. All his writing and teaching were motivated, I feel, not simply by a love of the craft but by a love for people. There is a big difference there.

DPC wanted to share useful things he figured out in case someone found it helpful. His work was entirely original and self-discovered, accurate and true, and he wanted to share it.

Over the last few days I have re-read some of our emails. The last one I sent, at the end of February, was never answered.

I am just so sad. I have lost someone I really understood and someone who really understood me.

You just can't replace a friend like that.


Kansas Sky said...

I’m so sorry you’ve lost your dear friend. Deep, deep condolences and much care. 🤍🕯

Terry in Alberta. said...

That was a lovely tribute. I,of course, have never met him but I have several books. Imagine coming to visit you and spending time with your family because he read a book.

Take care,

Veronik said...

I didn’t know David very much at all, having never had the pleasure of working with him. He was a bit of a hero for me, being one whose writing resonated the most with me when I learned to sew. I met him years later when I travelled to Toronto to take classes with him and Claire Shaeffer ; he was so personable and made me feel like it might have something to contribute.
Years later, we exchanged a few messages back and forth. I’m not sure he remembered our initial meetings, but he was again so interested. His thoughtfulness was inspiring.

Sarah Wale said...

Please accept love and condolences on the loss of someone who was clearly very dear to you. May he rest in peace and may you find the peace to grieve and come to terms with your lose. Kia kaha, stray strong, as we say in New Zealand.
With love,

Kay said...

I'm so touched to hear about him and your relationship with him. What a wonderful person!!!

I'm so very sorry for your loss! Big hugs!!

Marney said...

I am so sorry you have lost such a dear friend. The sewing community has lost a giant. I have some of his books and that is as close as I come. I will think about your tribute to him every time I open his books. Thank you for writing this and sharing this. My condolences to you and your family.

Kim said...

I was so sad to hear of his passing and for the loss of his expertise to the sewing community. I am doubly sorry for your personal loss. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into what seems to have been a wonderful person in addition to his being a sewing icon.

Sue said...

He was an original. I only took a couple of workshops with David. He was someone I wanted to get to know better. I wanted to hear his stories. I am sorry you’ve lost a friend that shared his stories with you, and heard your stories. Those friends are are a gift to be treasured. I wish I could give you a hug and listen to you. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Sending love. Sue

Carol in Denver said...

Your heartfelt tribute to a dear friend is very moving. May happy memories comfort you.

Elle said...

This warm tribute makes me feel as if I knew him a bit as well. No higher praise than to recognize a genuine, generous person--I imagine he saw that in you as well. I'm so sorry for your loss of such a dear old friend.

Anonymous said...

My condolences to you and your family.
From Ria in Melbourne. Australia.
Take care.

LinB said...

I am so sorry for your loss. We have all lost him, a little bit -- but you were lucky enough to have him as a friend in "real life."