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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tales from the Crypt

This is a photo of Pere Lachaise in France. I want to go there one day......look at those little house forms! See where I'm going with this.....
I don't know if this is a southern thing or if everyone does this. My parents and my grandparents always loved going to cemeteries and so do I. When I was a little girl, we would go to the cemetery where my grandparents and my dad are now buried, and feed the ducks at this very beautiful pond on the grounds. We would drive up to Stokes County and visit my dad's mother's grave. My grandparents liked to take me to New Salem down near Seagrove to visit the "family" graves. We would walk around the graves and talk about those family members that were long gone. My parents would take drives on Sunday after church and sometimes we would end up at All Saints cemetery in Pawley's Island and walk around the graves dating back to the 1700's and 1800's, with the spanish moss hanging from the live oak trees and casting strange shadows on the graves. I loved to walk around in that cemetery and imagine the lives of those laying there in the ground. What must their lives have been like in South Carolina in the 1700's!
Last year when I went to Beaufort with my friend Barbara, we stayed across the street from a cemetery. I got up very early on Sunday morning and went over and walked among the dead. It was so peaceful and so beautiful there. Again, lots of spanish moss hanging in the trees, azaleas were in bloom,  the graves were cracked and old with green moss growing on the stone, so amazing.
I have felt such a familiarity with the new shapes I'm working on and couldn't quite put my finger on it until I saw this photo from Pere Lachaise. Years ago, I went to New Orleans, and the only thing that has stayed in my mind are the mausoleums in the cemeteries, and the trout with pecans I had at the Commander's Palace! I think the relics I have been collecting lately are wanting to be used in some sort of shrine or alter type form and somehow these mausoleum shapes keep coming in to my head. I think this is going to work out.....During the holidays, Wesley showed me this video and it started all of this thinking about cemeteries and my work. I'm so inspired by this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpcj8MtPnMU&feature=relmfu
Well, let's see where this goes.....

14 comments:

Michèle Hastings said...

beautiful photo and I can definitely see the connection in your work. i have always been attracted to cemeteries as well. There was a lone grave stone leaning against a tree, in the yard of the little house I lived in on Bow Lake in Northwood, NH... I always meant to ask my neighbor what they knew about it.

I would love to go back to New Orleans one day... I love the creepy, beautiful aura of the landscape there... and the food is great too!!

Laura Farrow said...

we've been to the PL cemetery.. yes, it is VERY cool. I can show you our pics. Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are entombed there. Wilde's sculptural headstone is covered in red lipstick kisses.

cookingwithgas said...

there is a real connection.
BTW- love where the work is moving- but I could also see the perfume and one of those dolls done in a brothel....what does that say about me?
That is one and greatly inspiring place- for the living...

Kings Creek Pottery said...

We have a cemetary bordering our property and often walk through it with our dogs. Our cemetary is old, but not nearly as fancy as the France cemetary in the photo- very cool, indeed! And, yes- I see the connection and love what you are doing!

Lori Buff said...

You'd love walking around Oakland Cemetery which is near me. It could inspire you. Another clay artist I know made molds from some of the art on the tombstones. I can see how those molds would work with your buildings also. The possibilities are endless.

cindy shake said...

I can see why you were inspired! Also the color palette in the concrete, weathering and patina seems similar to a Raku fired finish. Some of the older Alaska Native graves here have a pair of giant whale bone ribs planted on each side of the plot that rise up to form an arch -very beautiful. Not too many large structures though due to the harsh winter environment. Your post reminds me of a picture book the local chapter of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Artists) New Orleans published years ago on graves. At the time I thought it was a spooky weird subject but now can see the beauty, age and artfulness of such monuments and why they took notice.

Dennis Allen said...

Can't wait.I see you making dies for extruding all the trim and capturing those dolls behind pierced fretwork.Boston's historic cemeteries are great and right on the Freedom Trail.Lots of spooky images.

Hannah said...

My mum used to take us on cemetary tours when we were on holiday, not ones where we knew anybody who was burried or anything, just old church yards that she liked the look of. I always thought she was mad, now I can understand it.

Tracey Broome said...

Wow, sounds like you guys are all crypt lovers too haha!
Dennis, nay on the extruder. I was extruder slave for Adrian Arleo when I was her assistant at a workshop, never again, hate that thing!

Terracotta-Lily said...

Ooh, I can't wait to see what you come up with! I've just written loads about graveside art in my dissertation so I'm full of curiosity. Oh- and in October, Wilde's tomb got a glass barrier put around it to stop people kissing it, seems really sad if you ask me.

Lori Leaumont said...

I grew up just outside New Orleans! I think it must be a southern thing, because no one goes to cemeteries up in Indianapolis, where I live now. I love the cemeteries back home, and I used to love walking thru St. Louis no. 1 and see all the crumbling brick and statues. I really miss those beautiful cities of the dead.

Thanks for sharing the photo of the ones in France. I'll have to visit there someday!

Sister Creek Potter said...

My mother's home was Jefferson TX--in east Texas. We lived there with her parents while my dad served in the Navy during WWII. I remember days when we went to the cemetary to clean, weed, and care for our family's plot there. When Jim and I were dating we made a visit to Jefferson--I consider it my roots--and visited with my uncle Jimmy. He took us to the cemetary 3 times that day! Some how the conversation kept coming back to something/someone at the cemetary and we'd make another trip out to see the site he was refering to! Great memory! Thanks.

Tracey Broome said...

Ya'll I think hanging out with the dead is truly a southern thing! I love that so many of us share this connection to cemeteries!

. said...

Happy New Year Tracey,
Thank you for your oh so inspiring posts.
I am sending a link to a fiber/mixed media artist in South Carolina. Her name is Susan Lens.http://artbysusanlenz.blogspot.com/ She also has an affinity with the dead.
Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Peace and Stitch,
Candace