The Beauty of Grief
‘The Beauty of Grief’ collection uses textiles to translate my own personal experience of losing a loved one. The collection consists of experimental 2D and 3D minimalistic interior surfaces and accessories. Each piece exemplifies my own personal emotions and reactions towards grief. It takes the audience on a five stage journey of Heartbreak, Physical reaction, Isolation, Emerge, and Acceptance. The collection has been handcrafted to evoke 3 of the five senses, touch, sight, and smell to give the audience a sensory experience. This collection breaks grief down to its bare essence showing it to be much more than just a sorrowful experience. I believe grief is not a sign of weakness but a journey in which makes you stronger and I hope the audience can connect to this and find some comfort within the collection.
This particular project focuses on the death of my brother in 2009. Each stage is supported by a written text, written as if they were letters for my brother. It explains the thoughts and feelings that I had at the time as a thirteen year old. Certain words heavily relate to the structure of the textiles and are highligjhted in bold.
Stage One - Heartbreak
I could see the sadness in her eyes before she even said it. I instantly knew that you had gone and I would never see you again. My heart just shattered and crumbled to pieces, life had just completely changed in the space of 5 seconds. I guess I was too naive and thought you would be with me forever. I never even got to say my last goodbye.
Stage Two - Physical Reaction
I saw you for the first time today since you passed away. You looked the same, it was almost like you were just sleeping. I secretly tried to wake you up by touching your face but the harsh coldness made me jump. It gave me goosebumps on my arms and I got knots in my stomach. Your hands felt the same, they was in the same old structure as they always have been. They were still quite flexible and I was playing with them the whole time. For a second life felt normal again because even though you weren’t breathing you was still there, still there in the same room as me.
Stage Three - Lonliness
Even though the family are here every day and the house is so busy, I feel so lonely. There’s a deafening silence in the house, it’s not the same without all your sounds and noises.It’s weird because all of your existence still remains; the marks on the stairs from your wheelchair, your slept in bed, your washing in the dryer, it’s just you that’s missing. Your part of the house is dark and deserted. I never look anymore, I just run past it every time. Sometimes I just sit in my room and curl up in a ball and cry. I would do anything for you to come back.
Stage Four - Emerge
Your gravestone was put up today and it looks really nice, we put your bubble tube on it and music notes because we know they were your favourite things. Seeing your name on the gravestone gave a sense of reality on the fact that you really are gone and we won’t be seeing you again. I have good news for you this time … I’m starting to feel better now, I’m emerging out of this sadness and we have started looking for a new house. There’s so many memories here and it is a tiny bit sad to leave, however the memroies will forvere remain with me.
Stage Five - Acceptance
We moved into our new house now and life seems to be getting a lot easier. I have been smiling a lot more than crying recently and even Mom seems happy now and then. I think this will be my last letter to you, not because I’m choosing to forget about you or leave you behind but because I have accepted what’s happened. All the broken pieces are fitting back together again and I feel stronger than ever before. Although this has been a hard journey to go through maybe it hasn’t been all bad. Maybe there is some beauty in this. The beauty of being strong and looking at life in a different way, the beauty of letting go and accepting everything that comes in life, the beauty of coming to the end and saying I got through it… The beauty of grief.
I would like to say a big thank you to 'The Textile Society' for awarding me with the 'innovative textile interior award' at the New Designers exhibition in London. I am so happy that my work was able to connect to people who had been through the same thing as me. I will be forever grateful for winning such a fantastic award.
I would also like to thank Zoe Hilyard, my final year tutor for pushing me to do bigger and better when I thought I had reached my limits. Her encouragement was one of the main forces for this project.
Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for their support and encouragement throughout my years at university.
Image above: taken from newdesigners.com