Sunday, 14 November 2010

Remembrance Day 2010

As part of my solo exhibition Cloth Collection I made a very special personal piece that is so appropriate for today - Remembrance Day.

In 1944 my mothers first husband was away in Holland fighting in the second World War.She was knitting a Fairisle jumper and had nearly finished this very complicated knitting when she recieved a letter from his commanding officer to say that he had been killed whilst in battle.
My Mum gathered up the pieces and threw them in the fire !
Of course I never knew this man but even as a young child I could feel my mothers pain. As an adult I understand more now that pain that she must have gone through.
She told me years later that she just had to get rid of the knitting and that it was a natural reaction to throw it in the fire. It wasn't that the knitting was unimportant - in fact quite the reverse. Its because it was important and had value that she wanted to feel the pain of destroying it.
I have kept the letters ( my mum died when I was 25, Thirty years ago now) that she recieved and wanted to honour her and Mickey in a piece of art work using the letters.
I knitted just part of Fairisle sleeve which took me some hours to do and then knitted the (hand written in pencil) field letter into the piece. The letters were scanned in and transfered onto cloth ( so I still have the original paper letters). Upon recipt of the letter the knitting becomes out of scync with the pattern, as her mind would have been clouded by grief.
I then burnt my knitting, crying as I did this. Just like my mother must have done.
It was a very personal piece to work on and to share with the world. I hope my mum would have liked this tribute to her and her beloved first husband.

1 comment:

Penny said...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about memory and remembering and this post touched so many of the thoughts going through my head. How wonderful that you honored both your Mother and her husband in this most personal and beautiful way. Thank you.