Well, glory be, the Festival of Marking 2012 is over. I finished this afternoon, and am now a free woman for the next three days at least.
While I have been chained to the red pen I haven’t done much at all, but the Medieval Historian is having some sort of rush of blood the head and wants to do some DIY, including, finally, helping me to put up the Death Quilt. I have blogged about it before, but as a quick recap: I made this as a memorial to mark the twentieth anniversary of my Dad’s death in October 2011. I also made it because I am interested in how women have used quilt making to mark significant events in their lives: weddings, christenings, departures and so on, but not death. In the nineteenth century when mortality was a much more present reality than today women made death quilts and mourning quilts including those made while sitting with the dying. There are examples of women making quilts from their husband’s shirts after their death, but this is quite rare now. I will come back to this in subsequent posts, I expect. But this is my first attempt, and it is very Victorian with the mourning statuary and the toad, a symbol of life and death. I love the quilt.
This isn’t the best photo of it, as I took it with my phone, but it shows how I mounted the piece onto a painted ready stretched box canvas. I painted it with a glorious rich very, very dark brown emulsion from Farrow and Ball called Tanner’s Brown. I prefer this to black which can be a bit stark and would have blurred into the quilt itself. The wall was also painted another in another Farrow and Ball colour, Brassica, which is a chalky light purple-y colour, and the two together look very sophisticated together – nothing to do with the rest of the room or the rest of our life, but rather pleasing as a combination. It’s the first time I have given a largish piece this treatment and I very happy with the way it came out. I think I will do it again. The quilt itself is faced rather than bound and this gives it a softer outline which I think contrasts quite well with the strong lines of the mount.
I have started using photographs from my phone as they are so much quicker to load, but I think I might go mad and use one from my camera to give a better resolution for this quilt as it is detailed and rich, and worth seeing the paint colours together. I am not quite sure that we will want to live with this moment mori for that much longer but I will definitely think about using this mounting technique again.