Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Step Twenty Seven: 10 thousand miles and her brooch...

Dear Fi,

It was a perfect day to work on my project today. Constant rain. So, both the rain outside the window and my tears were running down as I worked on today’s piece.

I listened to the same CD over and over again, I am still listening to it right now. Beautiful, tender, touching...

I won the CD some time ago on Wishstudio blog, where I left a comment under Kim McMechan’s post. If you would like to listen to a few of her songs go to her website or here. I just fell in love with all of them. Each one is my favourite...

So now the hard part. I worked today with a picture of my Grandmother. Soon five years will pass since she died. I wasn’t able to look at this picture for all these years. For my project today I used a fragment of a picture I took the last time I saw her. A few months before her death. On the picture my Grandmother was sitting on a chair with me and my mom standing behind her. My 8 month old son was sitting in his stroller close to her. I flew 10 thousand miles to see her, because I knew she was dying. She had just underwent surgery and was happy to see her grandson for the first time. A few months later she passed away.

That is all I can tell you. That is all I can tell myself.

When I look at the alerted photo above I cry. The image is too powerful to bear. It is also something I didn’t expect would come out. I started a new class at the university last week called “Grief & Loss”. One of our assignments is to use various exercises to cope with grief, there are many, but using art is something I process deeply, so this is why I chose to do a collage. My plan was to do something beautiful, cover my Grandma in flowers, especially the scar on her face, make her look colourful and free as a butterfly. I think I wanted to alter my memory of what happened, I wanted to create a new way of remembering her. A new meaning. But it failed. It failed because I’m not ready. I still remember... and what I remember is still very sad.

However, I like to think that one day I will be able to see her coming out of the cocoon, and flapping her wings above me. Maybe a butterfly, or maybe an angel...

Since I couldn’t stand this sadness facing me today, after staring on the image above, I decided to add something, to cover the feelings, or maybe to deceive myself a little longer... So here She is... slowly morphing into an unknown form. Transforming my feelings with her own change.

As I often do in my artwork, I used a page from an old book, bought once on sale at the public library, to create my Grandma’s body. Then I panicked for a moment, because I don’t know the Czech language and I though that maybe there is something inappropriate written there. So I tried to search for some clues.

I found only two.

“Kate” which was my Grandmother’s name, and “bolest” which sounds very similar to Polish “boleść” and means pain, wound, sadness...



This beautiful brooch with a missing piece, you see below, is the only material thing I have after my Grandmother, but it suffices ;)

1 comment:

  1. Such a touching post, Sylwi. Oh dear! Maybe I shouldn't have read this first thing this morning. I feel really sad now! :-( Your 'grief and loss' course sounds so intense... but in a good way. It is fascinating to see how art can be used as a therapy in healing. SUCH a powerful tool. I think it helps us reach parts of us that we can't reach with words and thoughts alone.

    I Iiked being able to follow the process of how you created this beautiful piece. I imagine this must have taken a lot out of you emotionally, but I guess, getting the feelings out onto paper allows you to understand them (and yourself) a bit better too. Or, at least, feel more able to live with these feelings in your life, as part of your life, rather than strangers at your front door, waiting to be let in... I don't know if what I'm saying is making any sense to you, but it makes sense to me! :-)

    I thought it was interesting, the last bit - where you added to the pic, to ease your pain... I liked the honesty of what you wrote. It felt like a positive thing to do, despite the grief and depth of loss you still feel. Almost as if coming to the conclusion that, even if I can't deal with the feelings right now, that's ok, I don't have to, but at least I can begin to be open to the possibility that one day I may be able to feel joy for the memories, not just sadness for the loss.

    It's absolutely pouring with rain this morning. I'm just waiting for a break in the downpour to go out... and I'm listening to 'Parachute' from the album you mentioned. Gosh, I do feel quite sad now! Days like these feel like they have another layer to them.

    I admire your bravery for exploring this very hard subject. And so beautifully and tenderly too. Hope you're ok, sweetheart. (You've started my tears flowing now!) I'm half crying and half laughing - you could have warned me!!! :-) I've got to go out and face people with a tear-streaked face now! :-)

    Lots of love

    Oh and P.S. That brooch is amazing! What a treasure?! So wonderful to have something solid, that you can clutch in your hand and imagine your Grandmother having held it and worn it... It's like a direct link to her through time and space!