Wednesday, 27 February 2013

'Theatre Silentum Memorias'

We have put up the  exhibition, it has been called..
 'Nine Lives', 
It is firstly being shown at Slack Space, in Colchester, we are having a meet the artists evening this Friday from 7.30pm you are all welcome, come in spirit if you can't make it in body..
The exhibition is set up, and is looking wonderful, now you can finally get to see the completed work.. 
    Brief: An ordinary shoe box, to make nine artifacts in nine months that fit inside the box.
    The restraints:
    1 - Doll - Alice
    2 - Bundle of letters –
    Rolled poems and words, never to be told
    3 - Heart -
    An amulet
    4 - Pin cushion -
    5 - Item of clothing – Child’s
    first shoe
    6 - A piece from a toy or game -
    7 - Jewellery –
    Paper beaded necklace
    8 - A rattle –
    9 - A memento of a significant event –
    Memories trapped in Glass wax

    together with a Journal..
The story behind my heirloom box is not what it started out to be, after a lot of heart searching it became a box about Samantha and the memories of my beautiful girl. That is the reason for the box and why it is called  'Theatre of Silent Memories'.   
"Silent memories"? Because when you have lost someone so precious, those memories are your memories, and as family and friends forget that your grief still tears you apart a little more each day,  you stay silent... Enough Julie! Enough! Now to get on with the box.. 
1 - Doll - Alice
I have already introduced you to Alice and her alter ego the Cheshire Cat, she looks so innocent with those big innocent eyes, and the cat has a wicked grin that doesn't reach it's eyes at all..
I chose Alice in Wonderland Chapter 4, because this is when she gets stuck in the rabbits house...
.... when her eye fell upon a little bottle that stood near the looking- glass. There was no label this time with the words 'DRINK ME,' but nevertheless she uncorked it and put it to her lips. 'I know something interesting is sure to happen,' she said to herself, 'whenever I eat or drink anything; so I'll just see what this bottle does. I do hope it'll make me grow large again, for really I'm quite tired of being such a tiny little thing!' 
Alice is a metaphor for my daughter Samantha,when she was growing up always felt too tall, she also loved this passage when Alice gets stuck in the rabbits house. I also painted Alice's hair red, as was Samantha's.
 2- Bundle of letters – Rolled poems and words, never to be told
These are tied bundles of letters and poems things that I would have loved to have said and shared with my daughter.. Made from old papers, stained with coffee and vanilla tea wrapped tightly around a wooden skewer then wrapped with pale grey threads..
3 - Heart - An amulet
The Heart amulet was decided by a lucky find in a church yard a little shard of flint in the shape of a heart. What I have made is a 'breve' a textual amulet, these were placed in the cots of new the new born to protect them.  Tucked inside the breve is a little pocket in which holds a special prayer. The heart form chosen for what it signifies, a heart ripped out, but still pumping..
4 - Pin cushion - Skull
The Skull is a reminder of  death and mortality,  completed with hundreds of tiny pearls which are used as a metaphor for tears.. Each stitched on with the help of a magnifying glass and many a pricked fingerThe nose is from a broken necklace from the 1930's, the eye on the right is a strange old button, the left eye is half of a popper and the mouth is one half of a skirt fastener, the nearest thing I could get to a voice that can't be heard.
5 - Item of clothing – Child’s first shoe
A lost shoe is used as a metaphor for one of my children are missing.  Made from a tiny pattern found on the internet for a dolls shoe, made from calico then painted and finished with a cute button from the 1950's. All of my children had red shoes as their first shoes, another small link.
6 - A piece from a toy or game - Ark
The toy was the first item to be made. Simply made from an old cereal box and tissue paper, the ladder is from silver wire that I had brought many years ago.
Why an 'Ark', in ancient Egyptian mythology, mummies were buried with a boat in case of flood and a ladder to help them climb to the afterlife..

 7 - Jewellery – Paper beaded necklace
The necklace is made from some of Samantha's art work, the first time I have included any of my daughters art work in conjunction with in my own.  The pieces that I used where three small pieces of Samantha's water colour paper that looked as if she was testing colours for a new project.  I can't tell you how many tears I shed and how long it took me to pluck up the courage to cut into her work.. Sam would have probably thrown the paper away..
8 - A rattle – Sampler  
The rattle was a puzzling, my first instinct was to make it out of papier mache, but I had to include a sampler of some kind as in the brief.. Some months previously my son had given me a tiny tin that had held mints, he also gave me 22 ball bearings which was the age that Samantha was when she died.. These fitted in the tin perfectly and give an amazing sound.. So with needle and fine wool I designed the cover 'Pisces', my daughters birth sign for one side and a sampler of patterns on the other.. Stitched once again with the use of my wonderful magnifying glass.
9 - A memento of a significant event – Memories trapped in Glass wax
This was the hardest to do, my significant event became all of the events that were snatched away from me that we would never have together. To show this I used time,  trapped in the  glass wax are clocks, a key hole to signify things that can't be quite seen, and her age.. Just 22.  The wax glass is very fragile and small pieces break off easily this was perfect as the time we have with our children is so precious and we must make the most of every day as time chips away and precious moments pass without us noticing..

The Journal
 A hand made book which includes 9 lino prints one for each object in the box, as you open the book there is some of Samantha's handwriting from her dissertation.. I enlarged it to make it a little more abstracted in appearance.
 'Theatre Silentum Memorias'
 And here it is placed on a shelf at roughly eye level, together with the Journal and the book in which I worked out what, where and how I was going to make the heirloom box.

Nine artists, nine months, nine boxes. Meeting up once a month to discuss and develop the ideas for the nine pieces of work which each box would eventually contain. It was a journey like no other. A meeting of minds of friendships made, laughter and sorrow gently mixed together with the kindness of nine women.


  1. Julie, Such a Powerful project. So much of yourself poured into each precious object. each so special and so connected to your beautiful daughter. Many tears must also be here too.
    I find it hard to tell you how much this anchors on to my emotions. This is Fabulous and It makes me speechless.
    Congratulations on your Presentations.

  2. Such a moving post Julie. Seriously well done for working through all that grief and sharing too. Will be with you Friday evening and really looking forward to seeing your work in the flesh. Lovenhugs Joan

  3. Oh Julie - its difficult to send this through my tears. I have a little metal piece on my desk that says: "My soul is revealed in the work of my hands". You are very brave to reveal your soul in this piece. Samantha would be so pleased to see this tribute that you've made.

  4. What a beautiful and enchanting tribute to your Darling Daughter. I can't choose a favourite piece because I just love them all - a very evocative and moving piece of work - a real treasure. Thanks for sharing Julie and I'll certainly be there in spirit. x

  5. dear julie
    Your art and your story made ​​me cry inside
    I am a mother of a 22 year old daughter
    The hole in your heart can not be mended but I hope that words are a comfort to you
    It's difficult for me to express myself English but mother hearts understand each other
    I admire your courage and your beautiful work of memory, you caught the spirit of your daughter.

  6. Julie,
    This amazing piece of work is, is... soul touching. Each integral part being a beautiful symbol of stripped emotions and dreams. Wow, just wow.
    Take a bow dear girl. ~ Susan xox

  7. What an amazing journey, and a river of tears that must be carrying you along... All I have to offer is a sunshine sliver wish to sparkle off the waves and light your path a little at a time...


  8. Dear Gwen, Joan, Penny, Anne, Mariet,S usan and Leanne

    Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement, each and every message means so much, just reading them has given me goosebumps and tears..

    I just wish you all could see the exhibition, I will post photo's of 'Meet the Artists' which is tomorrow night.. Wish me luck, I might need a few more tissues..

    Thank you all ~ Julie.

  9. Dearest, In these years that I have known you via internet and admired your art I have always felt your loss of the most precious....You so beautifuly express your loss and grief in this piece. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to be transparent. I hope to never know this kind of loss...

  10. What a wonderful body of work, its amazing Julie ❤ ♡ ❤

  11. Julie... For me, Susan's comment captures the entire journey that you have shared: "soul touching". "Theatre Silentum Memorias" is moving and meaningful, Daryle

  12. Julie - I don't know whether you'll see this or not but have missed seeing you in blog form and hope all is well with you. - Penny


Welcome to one and all, please feel free to leave a few words..

I am always pleased to read what you have to say and will always try to answer any questions you have to ask. ~ Julie