Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hello Again, blogland...

So, I've been very bad and abandoned my blog for a little while. As a result, I have a lot to post about in the next few days.

Found myself sitting in a cafe yesterday making lists of things I want to write about while I was drinking my coffee. So many things to try and wrap my head around! Unfortunately, I'm now having a little trouble deciphering my own handwriting and untangling my train of thought. Still, I shall persevere!

These thoughts will be appearing dribs and drabs, along with photographs of burying my garment and a lot more...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Why do I have to put a title for each post?

So, for the past couple of weeks I've been really thinking about the remainders that a decomposing garment would leave when buried. This is something that has been the focus or aim of my burial experiment - to leave the 'wreath' that is worked into the hood of my garment as something that is left behind after the rest of the cloth breaks down.

But what about inverting the idea? Instead of focussing on the disintegration, what about looking at ways that the buried garment could create something new? Perhaps there are ways of treating the garment so that it beautifies or changes over time? Or maybe seeds could be part of the garment, helping to make new life from old?

Some things to consider, anyway...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Quote of the Day Part II

"Depending on how we look at it, we may hold onto the hope that death is a sort of bonus. For what happens to us at death is one of two things. Either the dead person just ceases to be, losing all senses in a sea of nothingness; or else, as many people believe, it is a change, a migration of the soul towards another place.

"Well, if death is simply the end of our sense, then it is like a long dreamless sleep, and therefore a sweet prospect. If you can recall that rare night when you slept so deeply that you were undisturbed by dreaming – can you remember anything more pleasant? If that is how death is, then I for one am looking forward to it – for then eternity will me like nothing more than a single night.

"But suppose that death is, indeed, a journey to another place. Suppose the destination is a commonly imagined, and contains the spirits of all who have died. I ask you – what prospect matches that? Who would not want to travel to that other world?"

– Socrates, on his impending fate after being sentenced to death.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jewels and Precious Things...

Shiny things rarely fail to capture my interest. I can't help it. Jewellery has captured my attention for a long time. It was looking over my own photographs of jewellery from the site of Mycenae that led me to further investigate the burial rites of ancient Greece.

I was in Greece just last year, and there are relics from thousands of years ago all over the country. It is often said that there is beauty in that which is broken, decaying, or incomplete. Perhaps that, coupled with my love of 'shiny things', was what attracted me intensely to worn down pieces of jewellery from the remains of old cities and civilisations since gone.

Having looked into the burial practices of ancient Greece over the past couple of weeks, I have been starting to wonder how many cultures consider what will be found in grave sites in hundreds or thousands of years to come. It has been quite tricky to find out precisely what the ancient Greeks dressed their dead in - while there are general descriptions of 'rich garments' or 'ankle length shrouds', there is nothing specific enough to leave no doubt as to what was placed in the ground over the body of the deceased. Of course, all of this having occurred so long ago, there is no physical evidence remaining - fabric (from natural fibres) left in the ground for centuries will not endure the test of time.
What is left, though (and then found many years on), are pieces of pottery left as offerings, or items of jewellery which adorned the bodies of the (rich) deceased.
Of course, it was unlikely that there was consideration by those burying their loved ones as to what would last longer in the ground - every element that was left in the ground with the body had to do with respect or safe passage for the soul in the afterlife.

All of this has led me to developing 'lasting' aspects into my burial garment - permanent tributes into things that typically last in the ground, anyway... buttons, fastenings, and of course, jewellery can all be reworked in such a way that when they remain (but the clothes or even the bodies do not), there will be something meaningful left many years on. Jewellery, in particular, may be reinterpreted and worked into the garment itself... perhaps as decorative elements made from materials that will last much longer than the cloth. The beauty of this, too, is that these decorative elements can be replicated into other forms as a memento for the family/loved ones of the deceased - a way of remembering and maintaining a connection.

Quote of the Day Part I

"Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all"
- William Goldman