|Cycles II © Karen Thiessen, 2007|
I was invited to dig through the Dundas Museum and Archives to select a piece to respond to for the Out of the Past show, and by chance I found a box of Victorian mourning jewellery. My grandma had just died, so my fresh grief collided nicely with the hair jewellery discovery. While my grandma was dying, I held her hand and stroked her hair as I spoke softly to her. Death affects each person differently. For various reasons, three of my grandma's four children were AWOL when it came time to sort through and distribute her stuff, so it fell to an uncle and his wife and my husband and me. As the oldest grandchild, I knew her the longest and possibly the best. Grandma was a pack rat and an avid and accomplished textile person, so there was much to sort through. The mother-of-pearl brooch front and the pearls came from her stash. The hair is mine, from when I had my head shaved for an important birthday. Circles represent the life cycle. All the elements work together to support the concept. Below are the artifacts that inspired Cycles II.
|A. Victorian Mourning Jewellery Hair brooch, collection of Dundas Museum & Archives|
|B. Victorian Mourning Jewellery Hair bracelet, collection of Dundas Museum & Archives|
B. Lady's hair bracelet, braided design. Held together by gold clasp in knotted design, c. 1880