We are very fortunate to have an experienced team of guides to share their knowledge and passion for Godinton with our visitors, and also newer guides who occasionally join the team. This season, one of our new recruits. Karina Sellers has a special connection with the house being related to Marjorie Sellers, creator of the two weasel sculptures in the Priest Room. I thought you might be interested to learn a little bit more about Marjorie and thank Karina for providing this information.
Marjorie was born Marjorie Drury in 1924 in Ashford and lived her whole life in this locality. She married Ken Sellers in 1943 and they had three children. The Sellers family originated in Yorkshire where they owned a butchers shop. The advent of Foot and Mouth in that area saw the family moving to Ashford in the 1930’s. Ken’s father opened A. Sellers and Sons butchers in New Street, Ashford in 1938, named after the shop in Yorkshire. After time in the army, Ken joined the family business as a master butcher. A while later, Marjorie too joined the business working as a cashier and driving the shop delivery van and delivered meat locally including to Godinton House. In those days of ‘make do and mend’ and with very few reasonably priced ready made items available, Marjorie made a lot of the family’s clothing and made wedding dresses for others. Liz, one of the daughters recalls her Mum modelling heads from Plasticine to use as moulds so that the children could cover them in papier mache. The resulting heads with fabric clothing were puppets to play with. During her spare time, Marjorie took up painting and eventually joined Ashford Art Society and in later years became a member of Bilsington Art Group. In 1976, the family moved to Mersham and this allowed Marjorie to have the space for a kiln. She already had a potter’s wheel before this time but moved on to making figures. I can remember Marjorie making the weasels at the kitchen table and leaving them to dry on a shelf at the side of the kitchen. No moulds were ever involved and although several sets of weasels were made, all were slightly different. It was typical of Marjorie to name each piece with whimsical names such as ‘The kiss that missed’, ‘Kissing cousins’ and ‘Snow weasels”. Some of the weasels had pottery bases but the others had wooden bases that were made by Ken. Besides exhibiting at the art society shows, Marjorie would sometimes have a table at craft shows and the weasels would have been included in the displays. They went on to experiment with various pottery techniques including Raku which involved the digging of a fire pit in the garden! The range of Marjorie’s creativity extended to many crafts over the years, especially after her retirement. She was a member of the Kent Guild of Spinners, Dyers and Weavers. She would obtain a fleece, spin the wool and use a range of homemade concoctions to dye it. Ken joined in with many of the crafts. Together they would make rugs out of the wool Marjorie had made. She also used a loom to make a suit for herself. We think that Marjorie did know Alan Wyndham Green and we seem to remember her talking about him, perhaps when the weasels were purchased but have no certain idea how and when this came about.