Monday 30 April 2018

Tears and smiles and messy play

On Friday, we went to celebrate Jan's life with her family and friends. It was a heartfelt, moving funeral service, shared with over a hundred people whose lives had been touched by her in so many ways - activities known and unknown to us - and it was a privilege to be asked to share it, as we'd known her for such a small part of her varied life. It was lovely to be told by many people, how important Traverse was to her in these last few years and how much she enjoyed working with us. There was a sense of gratefulness that she managed to exhibit at the NEC, something which she was so very excited about and happy to do.

At the wake, the family had set up a wonderful display of just a small fraction of the work Jan had produced over the years - such a variety, reflecting her many passions and experiments with all things textile. Here are a few quick snapshots of the display -

Bernice's beautiful collage, including the squares we made earlier, was also displayed and will be included in a book of memories.

There was also another table set up for what I call 'messy play' - fabric paints, pens and fabric squares - laid out for people to decorate in their own way, to be included in the book of memories. These were small personal pieces, drawn or painted by family and friends and I didn't photograph them.

There was much merriment around that table, as we sat and played with Jan's wonderful collection of fabric paints and many people spoke of how much Jan would have loved it. We shared our memories and anecdotes and, in my case at least, got seriously messy! I ended up with two squares of painted fabric as I used the second one to blot the first, and then decided to flood one of them with water. Lateral thinking led me to the hand dryer in the loo and I did eventually get them dry enough to bring home with me, wrapped in serviettes; I really wanted to add some stitch before returning them for the memory book.

This is what I brought home - ripped paint-splodged serviettes and a blue one from the train ...

... and my two painted fabric squares.

I carefully separated the painted serviette layers.

The railway serviette had three layers so I removed one and then covered the remainder with roughly 50/50 PVA and water.

I layered up torn painted papers and glued them down in stages, starting from the centre and working my way outwards.

I used torn pieces of the extra blue layer to fill in any gaps and made sure it was well covered with the 50/50 mixture.

When it was dry it looked like this.

I intended to use this as a background for some kind of collage using the painted fabric squares but first I wanted to check if there were any holes - so I did this ...

I loved how it looked with the light shining through it ...

... and spent a long time taking close up shots - I went completely off task.

Now I'm not sure whether I will use this in the way I intended - it may have to change, to be revealed by a light behind it ... but I will definitely make something for the book with my splodged fabric squares, as an extra memory of the day. It feels right to finish what I started on that table. It was a healing process and just the right way to remember Jan - tears and smiles and messy play.