13 September 2009

What do you make for someone who is grieving?

The father of a good friend recently died, on the day she was to leave and fly back home (an overseas trip). This was not unexpected, yet I had not prepared anything to give my friend that in any way acknowledged her loss. Objectively speaking, that seemed rather foolish, yet another friend reassured me that it wasn't. I guess neither of us would do well in the print media world where obituaries of famous people are on file and updated continually. Just in case.

Anyway. I bought a card at a bookstore for my friend, wondering if she would be offended or feel let down that I didn't take the time to make something personally. Two chances came and went to give her the card; I signed & addressed it before leaving to go to her house, then left it on the kitchen counter. A day or two later, I neglected to take it with me to a place where I knew I'd see her (although I did know we would not be able to speak privately). Perhaps I was purposely forgetting on some level.

So today, while walking around or driving or something, I was struck with the idea of using something I had done months ago--had stamped a sunset image on thin paper and colored it with pencils blended with mineral spirits. Didn't know what to do with it so just kept it in my box. I thought I could use that as the image on my card and combine it with something I'd read on a card in the bookstore that moved me deeply: "The world is but a resting place." (Apparently a Japanese Buddhist proverb.)

I got out my box of scrap papers and nearly immediately just went into a very focused state of being. Unusually for me, I was quite decisive, didn't need to seek anyone else's opinion or let anything sit for a few days to make sure I was happy. And I am pleased with the final result, and I hope it will contribute to some sense of peace in my friend's heart.

Details: I wrote the proverb on matte black paper with an Inkssentials opaque white pen--beautiful pen, very white. The image had been stamped with permanent ink on a thin drawing paper, colored with Derwent Inktense pencils, and blended with Gamblin mineral spirits. The image and proverb were mounted onto black sparkly paper using a Xyron. I had a piece of watercolor paper that I had sprayed with Stamp Zia spray watercolors; I cut the appropriate size and mounted it to black illustration board using 3M Super 77 multipurpose adhesive (at 5-1/2" wide, it wouldn't fit in my largest Xyron--will have to consider getting the 9" one on sale sometime). Then I ran a piece of white posterboard through the Xyron and mounted it on top of the watercolor paper, and finally I ran the black sparkle paper through the Xyron and stuck it over all. The image looked a little raw, so I used a 6B charcoal pencil and a tortillon around the edge of the paper to blend it into the black paper.