Friday, 27 May 2011

Grave Rubber

Floral grave rubbing © Karen Thiessen 2011
Funny things happen when you forget to bring a camera to a major tourist destination: you resort to the unusual. A few years ago, while in San Antonio, I reluctantly visited The Alamo. Thinking that it would be boring, I went without my camera. To my surprise, The Alamo was an interesting place and I was inspired to capture elements of it. Tucked in my knapsack was a tiny sketchpad and a good graphite pencil, so I set out to take rubbings of odd-shaped leaves, metal stars embedded in the concrete. I did this in a respectful way, not taking rubbings of anything that I could harm. As a result, I came away with a different experience of The Alamo than if I had brought my camera. 

A few weeks ago I trekked off to the old graveyard where my great Oma rests. She died in the 1930s long before my dad was born and her grave is in the back corner of a small old cemetery that filled before her children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren could join her. Great Oma's grave is forgotten and I find comfort in collaborating with this brave woman that I never knew. I imagine that her daughter-in-law, my Oma, chose the floral pattern: it has a woman's touch.

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