Monday, 1 April 2013

Quotes: Labour

No Labour No Bread design © Karen Thiessen, 2013
This quote has "Mennonite" written all over it in more ways than one. In Russian Mennonite culture, each home had one or two Sprüche hanging on the wall. Sprüche are wall hangings or plaques with moralizing quotes or Bible verses like "Unser taglich Brot gib uns heute" (Give us God our daily bread). My parents are modern, so their plaques read "When life gives you lemons make lemonade" and "No labour no bread," among others.

Wheat was a major crop for Mennonites in South Russia (present-day Ukraine) and the first Russian Mennonites to migrate to North America in the late 1800s brought with them Turkey Red Wheat. When I visited the graves of my great-grandparents (and their fellow Mennonite cemetery neighbours) to take grave rubbings, I was surprised to see a number of variations of wheat engraved into the head stones. The wheat in the above image was taken from a rubbing from one of my great-grandmothers' graves that I then traced by hand and then imported into Adobe Illustrator to trace digitally.

The above image is a tongue-in-cheek twist on the "No labour no bread" plaque hanging in my childhood home. Mom & dad's version shows a man threshing wheat by hand (it's based on an old Canadian coin). Once upon a time, if you wanted bread, you had to make it yourself. Today most folks just go to the grocery store and pick up a loaf.

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