Objects of Mourning, 2006-2010
Objects of Mourning
Through this body of work and research I seek to understand how everyday objects assist us in transitioning through the difficult process of grief/mourning. I am interested in how mourning and commemoration is contained within objects and our constructed systems. During the process of mourning, objects can link us to loved ones that have passed or moments in life that are fleeting. This has inspired a strong interest in objects and motifs, which are sadly, no longer used or valued as they once were. These once beautifully decorative and valued objects carry with them the potential to become a source of meaning beyond their physical properties and an outlet for displacement, emptiness, loss, sentimentality, as well as hope and understanding.
Object of Mourning: Liminality
This work is inspired by my interest in the concentrated and outward mourning practices of the Victorian Era in contrast to the lack of negotiating loss and mourning within contemporary western culture. The mood of the era and the moral values of the Victorian times allowed them to express their sorrow in their outward appearance, especially through their manner of dress. It is distressing, that as a culture, we do not publicly grieve for our dead. An expression of self-identity, family connectedness, a general concern for others, and the constant reminder of the inevitable is lost. Where is the space for the grief in our lives? I find the Victorian sentimentality towards death, and that of other cultures, a moving testament in allowing oneself to express publicly, deeply personal moments.
From June 21st, 2009 to June 21st 2010, I constructed and wore a brooch a day for the duration of a year. The brooches are made from many different materials and objects, but primarily from black and gray fabrics, so familiar to the women of the Victorian era who took on the burden of publicly mourning. This time, set aside every day, to construct a brooch, whether it was a few minutes or an hour, allowed me the space to consider more deeply my relationship with loved ones, who have passed away. It afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the constant, and exhausting work involved in moving through the grieving process. Wearing the brooches, on a daily basis became a signifier and prosthetic. They also served as conduits for memory to reside, as well as a chance to reconsider the void within our inward and outward mourning practice.