Saturday, January 19, 2008


Sometimes - not often - life throws up perfect conjunctions. This picture is the result of one such. Just over a year ago my mum died (see THE 200TH POST for poetic tribute) and over the course of those twelve months much time has been spent sorting out her effects - a difficult and emotional task as many of you will know.

Throughout her life, she was passionately fond of greetings cards - she ran a card department in a big branch of W.H.Smith's for many years - and amassed a large collection of her personal favourites. Until her sight got too bad, she became fascinated by the Victorian pastime of 'decoupage' [see definition below] and used many of the cards as material for a whole string of pictures and objects, most of which she gave away to friends.

[Left]: Here is one of the pictures, faded over time. A centrally- placed window featured in many of her works.

She was very concerned about what would happen to these cards - and the bags of tiny little bits she had cut out of them - and that worry stayed with me. I just didn't feel I could throw them away but knew noone who would want them. Then fate took a hand.

I was invited to an exhibition locally by Maria Rivans - a collage artist par excellence. See examples of her work here

As soon as I saw them I knew I had found the answer to my problem. I explained my story to Maria and, the long and the short of it is I gave Maria a large proportion of the cards and cut-out pieces and commissioned here to produce a collage picture, with a photo of Grace in the centre, in celebration of her art and life. I think you will agree she has done a beautiful job.

(or d├ęcoupage): the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cut outs onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf, etc. Commonly an object like a small box or an item of furniture is covered by cutouts from magazines or from purpose-manufactured papers. Each layer is sealed with varnishes (often multiple coats) until the "stuck on" appearance disappears and the result looks like painting or inlay work. The traditional technique used 30-40 layers of varnish which were then sanded to a polished finish. This was known in 18th century England as The Art of Japanning after its presumed origins. [Wikipedia]

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