Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hearts and Weddings

Page 2 from the Book of Hearts. A page about weddings and hearts. Hearts in love, hearts full of hope for the future, hearts leaving their past behind them, hence the frontpiece, the book of hearts.

Here my grandfathers brothers have grown up, as boys will do. On the left my grandfathers elder brother, the brother who joined him in the orphanage. He has grown and joined the navy where he enjoyed a wonderful career. He has met his sweetheart and here they are on their wedding day together. Hearts full of hope and love, the past gone and replaced by something wonderful. On the right the younger brother that stayed with their mother. It is also his wedding day. He too looks joyous and full of hope for his future life. I know little about him, he was not discussed by the family and when I was young I was loathe to rock the boat and ask about things which were so personal and painful to those I love. Of course now it is too late I wish I had asked. I am sure my grandfather would have brushed it all aside and breezed over it all, but I cannot help being curious.

Below is a closer look at the bridal party. The lady on the far right is my great grandmother, the grooms mother. The same lady as from the previous post but later in her life. How happy she must have been, but here I always think she looks quite stern. I wonder why. Perhaps she just doesn't like having her photo taken. The background paper is a cover from an old music sheet. I felt it appropriate, the angel of dreams, for weddings are a time to dream. I also wanted the brothers to be together, if not in their real life then at least here, in the Book of Hearts.

Last but not least, I felt a wedding page should express the sentiment we all feel when we marry.

I rather think they would have liked this.
At least I hope so.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Book Of Hearts

Late last year my mother's cousin passed away. Ordinarily this probably would not affect most people overly much, but for my mother it was a hard time. They had grown up together as children living in close proximity and schooling together while young along with my mother's sister, the girls were close. Over the passing years they moved away and saw each other less but always enjoyed each others company when it was possible to get together . My mother's father passed away some years ago, then her mother a few years later quickly followed by her only sibling, her sister all too prematurely from cancer soon after. For my mother the loss of her cousin last year is a reminder of her passing years and also heightened her loneliness as almost all of her family are now gone, except her own husband and children, all of whom live quite some distance away, too far for her to visit. You see my mother was beset by cancer as well which has left her in a wheel chair since her early forties. For her, travel to see her children is near impossible as the distance involved makes travel a practical impossibility due to the complications of her condition and medical requirements. With this in mind I wanted to do something for her, something to tell her how much I loved her and to celebrate the better times in our family history. Filled with inspiration I have embarked on a project, a book, a collection of photographs in a constructed book form to celebrate and remember those wonderful and loving people who have played so large a part in her life and mine.

And so, a book of hearts.

Over the coming weeks I will post pictures of the various pages constructed for the book, I have not yet given the book to my mother as it is not yet finished. It is also a secret so don't tell her! (She doesn't read my blog anyway!) As with all projects like this it has grown well beyond my original imaginings, taken soo much more time than I envisaged, (I work full time, am currently studying for a diploma in my chosen career field and have a busy family, phew!), but I am happy with the results. It has stretched me in more ways than I ever imagined, helped me to learn about and understand the individuals that make up my family past and history, and challenged my artisitc creativity and abilities constantly, (not to mention the budget, I can see my hubby nodding in solemn agreement to that one, lol) and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

So here is the first page, and it begins with my great, grandmother, she's the lady seated in the chair. Her three children surround her, the only happy family photograph ever taken of them all together. You see, very soon after this photograph was taken she gave my grandfather and his elder brother up to an orphanage. She was born in England and when a young girl set out for Australia and eventually settled down in Tasmania some time after the turn of the century (the 20th century that is, for all you youngans). Her husband abandoned her shortly after her youngest child was born. Life must have been very hard for her with three boys to raise, and eventually it took it's toll. How hard it must have been to give up two of her children, you see she kept the youngest child with her. My grandfather (pictured sitting on her knee) and the oldest brother were both put into an orphanage and remained there until they were of age to leave. How hard for them. My great grandmother eventually remarried later in life and moved to Sydney, I don't think my grandfather or his brother had much in the way of contact with her over the years, just a few odd moments, it must have been so hard for them all.

And so to the page. In the background a copy of an old sea departure card given to emigrating departees leaving England. An English postage stamp to remind us of her heritage in the top right corner. On the right hand side a silver spoon with the Australian crest to represent her new home with a silver crown attached to the bottom to remind us of her past.

The words in the bookplate underneath at the bottom of the page are to remind us of how brave and hard a decision it must have been to leave the only home you have ever known to travel to an unknown country to live.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think, I am eager to hear from you.

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