Monday, December 21, 2009

Fragments, Vestiges and Remains -Kim Updated

I guess you all thought I'd completely fallen off the planet by now, but no just at it full on in the new studio!
Honestly, moving, what a hassle, and trying to find everything! At last I have my book done and it will be off to Alicia, (who probably has no hair left after worrying if I will ever finish it, and we can't have that cause bald for ladies is NOT a good look!!!).
Well enough about that let's move on and take a peek shall we, while I fill you all in!

Under the cover a little fabric play...

Yes, good advice, don't lose anything Kim! The words sit on a pillow of textural fragments. Under the cheesecloth, zillions (cause I just looove that word, LOL) of fabric threads from assorted projects that I have kept over time.

On the opposite page...

something for us, the contributors to the book.

Five sweet little cherubs (just like us really!).

Underneath I have constructed a chatelaine.
Okay I can hear you all going what??? from here!
In past times a chatelaine was a collection of chains which women would attach to their belts to hold the household keys.
In this case it will (hopefully!!!) contain a token from each of the participating artists. Something that reflects the friendship that has arisen from this collaboration together. For my part I have added a key and a token that says friendship, representing the keys to our friendship together.

But wait there's more...

The page opens up to reveal, a little suprise...

An additional section for the contributing artists. Five small hand made books, one for each of us to write in.
I thought it would be nice to hear from each artist about their work in the book. Here we can talk about our piece, what's behind it, or how it developed, maybe add a small picture of ourselves and to sign the work here. Each little book is constructed of a suede outer cover and watercolour paper and hand bound. The other inner page shows a picture of five birds and says 'the song of the five chicks'. Well that would be us, five chicks collaborating together in our books and our song is our art.

So, now onto my contribution to fragments, vestiges and remains.

This piece has been coming for some time. I don't mean in how long it has taken to get it done, more in it has been a persistent nagging thing in my head that just demanded to be done. Funny how that happens sometimes.

The piece is about the Anzacs and Gallipoli. For those who don't know, Gallipoli, in Turkey was the scene of a catastophe that resulted in huge loss of life to all participants on both sides during the first world war. For Australians and New Zealanders it forged a bond that remains so strong it has never left us. Anzac is an acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, but the word has become such a part of our culture and has such significance attached that the acronym was dropped during the war and was awarded status as a word of its own. On April 25th 1915, Australia, New Zealand, England together with it's colonial troops from India and the French attacked Turkey on the beaches of Anzac cove. The next few months saw the cream of the nations young men die in a futile attempt to take possession of a strip of land they would eventually leave a few months later, after the deaths of thousands of men from both sides. Almost 500,00 men from both sides lost their lives in a campaign which ended some 9 months later and resulted in a win for the Ottoman Empire. It changed our nation. Australians entered the war having implicit faith in the dominance of the English Empire. We came out the other side a nation forged in war and have never forgotten the lessons since.

Anzac day is a traditional holiday here. Thousands march each year and even though the numbers of original Anzacs have dwindled to a few old men, their sons and grandsons march for them each year, maintaining their place in the parades. It is a touching sight.

And so onto the piece...

A map dominates the left side of the page...

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The piece is a reflection of a number of real men's lives combined into one. In researching the war records of the Anzac soldiers I came accross the military papers of Pte. Francis William Edwards. Pte. Edwards joined the 1st Australian Lighthorse in 1914 at the age of 22. After training young Francis shipped out with his comrades to Egypt then onto Gallipoli. He lost his life there in May of 1915.

I have collected copies of Pte Edwards war records and added some items that would have been typical of a soldiers belongings at the time. Photographs of some of the lighthorse regiment are included, (many thanks to the Australian War Memorial for their pictures which are reproduced under a commons licence), although I can find no pictures of Francis himself anywhere. I have included items to represent those listed in his personal belongings and which would fit into the piece, it is after all a book (which is beginning to bulge out now!).
Also included here a diary I have constructed which reproduces a few entries made by the original soldiers in their own diaries from the war in Gallipoli.

On the opposite page a dedication to those lost Anzac men.

The words are not my own but were reprinted from a newspaper of the times in approx 1917, I think! I can't name the paper it came from as I don't have those details, but I think the words spoken so eloquently then, are just as poignant today.

Under the flap another window which reveals the Ode.

The Ode is recited at every official Anzac memorial service held today.

Opposite the Ode is a fragment, a piece of a letter to represent the thousands sent from home to those boys at the front.

And under that a small piece of our flag.

The remains of a nations beliefs, shaken and reborn.

And a picture of an unknown Australian soldier from the period. This young man lost his life too.
(The picture is courtesy of the Australian War Memorial and is also available under a commons licence.)

A young man chosen to represent many other young men.

I could not resist this young boys eyes. He could be Francis.
At least he is here.

So now the book will be on it's way, winging across the world to Alicia.
I can't wait to see her contribution and those of the others as it travels around. Of course their input will be different again as I haven't constructed a story to this book but instead want it to reflect lots of different fragments of things. When it finally returns home to me, I have reserved a final section in the book to add something else of my own...

but you will have to wait for those remains a little while longer.
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  1. Okay you have all be very patient and it's been a long time coming, but finally it's here! Will throw the package at the postman this week and it will be on it way to Alicia!

  2. Oh wow!!! I've just finished some sewing and was just about to turn the computer off and go to bed when I noticed this new post from you...and of course I couldn't resist a peek...and now I am so blown away and impressed by what you have done that I may not be able to sleep after all!
    I really am both impressed and blown away!
    I love ANZAC bit of your book, especially the flag piece. I can of course relate to the ANZAC story but learnt a thing or two from your spread. Dang you're clever! Have you read poem "From Flanders Field" (I think thats the title)about the poppy's origination?I think you'd like it. I love the little pocket you made with the momentos...the hidden things and odes and I am seriously hanging out for my turn with this book!

    Your other spreads are equally magnificant, I can't even think of the words to say how much I love the chantaline (yup, your right I had no idea what that was!) the 5 singing birds, the handmade books...oh wow! This is just to terrific for words!

    So good to *see* you again Kim. It certainly looks like your back at full strength!

  3. As I mentioned on your blog..this is truly pulp excellence! I love the historical aspect..a really wonderful presentation of the fragments idea. This is quite a masterpiece Kim! Welcome back!

  4. Oh Kim! I cried as I read this - truly. I hold ANZAC so dear to my heart as my husband and I both have military backgrounds and we have fathers and grandfathers who fought in both wars (I and II); thus we attend the dawn parades almost every year.

    I can't believe how much work has gone into your book - it truly is a marvel to behold. The significance of your chosen theme is so deep and awe-inspiring; it has such spirit!! Thank you for making my afternoon, Kim. I keep thinking - the world needs to see this! We really should contact Somerset Studios or someone!!

  5. Aww thanks girls!
    Lisa S- So glad you like the piece! I know the poem you mean and I love it so much, very touching! I knew I would have to explain the chatelaine, it is such an old fashioned thing that it's rare to come across anyone who is familiar with the term.
    Lisa J- Thanks so much for the pulpy love, LOL! I did stop to think that maybe the theme was a bit too ozzie and kiwi but then figured every country has some historical background like this that they can relate to. The story is the same throughout history, only the names and dates really change!
    Debs- Oh honey so glad i touched a nerve! I rather thought you might get this one. I must admit I got quite teary reading the actual hand written accounts from the men who fought there. Such horrid conditions and deprevation for so little.Dawn service is my fav one too and we have attended our share over the years as well with military family members ourselves. It is of more significance to me than rememberance day or any other of the various dates celebrated. I can never go past this one for that gut punch feeling I always get for this particular day! I'm so pleased that someone who has the background to understand it, was touched by it. That means the most! I'd love Somerset to pick up the redux books for one of their publications. We will have to work on them!

  6. but wait, there's more!??! you weren't shittin', lady! holy cow! wow, wow!! i'm speechless right now. you have put so much amazing work into this and so much meaningful and touching bits and pieces... mementos. i'm just blown away by how much you've put into this and although i shamefully knew nothing of the ANZAC previously, this was so touching to read and made me a little weepy. such a tremendous tribute and woohoooo, i get to play in it next! i shall spend my evening brainstorming indeed! and probably tomorrow... and christmas. how can i stop thinking about this book until it arrives? i am sooooooo impressed and so very excited, my talented friend! and my apologies for being a jerk and not reading this until now -- things have been crazy beyond words BUT gram is finally moved to a wonderful, beautiful place and i get to go visit her tomorrow and take her a sweet gift. :) she is doing MUCH better.

  7. i am just giddy right now. the book arrived!!! and all in one piece!! i was so scared when i saw that there was no packaging material but the book is PERFECT! soooo gorgeous and lovely and ever so touching. WAY better in person and it's utterly perfect in the photos. i have an idea for two of my pages, but not sure (YET) about the rest. i had every intention of jumping right in but i feel like poo right now. i either have a poisonous spider bite or shingles (that's what you get when you ask two medical professionals what's up with you). so, nappy time now and THEN i get to work on my ideas all awake and refreshed.

  8. p.s. lisa s -- omg, while i was typing, guess what was burning in my oven!? a quesidilla! we should not bake tortillas or anything else while doing anything pulpy!

  9. I'm so glad the book arrived safe and sound. I hope you are feeling better poor girl, I don't like the sound of either of those options, spider bites or shingles! Take it easy and rest up big time! That's it, no Mexican cooking during pulpy play for anyone else, LOL! Someone will end up burning down the house!

  10. safe and sound indeed! one of the glass pieces was a little wonky but all in one piece and i fixed it. i'm just getting started on working on it this morning. sooooo exciting!

    and yeps, i'm feeling much better today, thank you. :) blaring the slits and dancing around is proof enough, i think. my neighbors must HATE me! i need to calm down and start arting!

    and you're right! no mexican cooking while pulping! ;)