..............AND WHEREVER ELSE THAT LEADS ME...............

Thursday, December 13, 2012


AND CRAZY QUILTS................

Who else could come up with that besides the amazing Susan Lenz?????

As usual I find Susans' art  completely captivating......especially her grave rubbings on silk.
When I saw these two pieces where she combined her rubbings with crazy quilts I knew they were my favorites . (so far :)

"The Urn"
" Circular Churchyard Angel III"
You can read more about these pieces and see more of Susans'
rubbings at her blog,
"Grave Rubbing Quilt Series."
You'll find it located on my sidebar.

Saturday, October 20, 2012



After finding this quilt online I decided it definitely
fit into the catagory of mourning art.
It's "title" is Graveyard, it's maker unknown.
 Made sometime between the years of 1950 to 1975, 
 it could be classified as an eight pointed star pattern.
Done in shades of brown, beige, and black,
 it is surrounded by a border that is done to look like a picket fence,
with coffins along the inside. 
The large center piece is a cemetery with coffins.
There is a path thru the pattern that leads into the cemetery.
I can't tell what the first item is at the head of the path, I am guessing it is
possibly an urn?
I counted over 20 coffins , at least some of them have names on them.
Again, these photos make it hard to tell for sure.
It also looks like it was made in such a way
that more coffins could be added at a later date. 
this quilt is in a private collection
in the USA.
Edited to add another much clearer photo I just came across
of this wonderful quilt:


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mourning Hat

A mans mourning hat from the 1800s'.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crowning Glory...............

I know nothing about this other than the fact that
it is made entirely from
the deceased persons hair.

This might be one of the most intricate and complicated
pieces of mourning hair art
I have seen.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

   Found on Pinterest.........................

A large collection of mourning photo pins.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Modern Version of Mourning Hair Art

Inspired by a Victorian memory (mourning?) flower she had as a child,

Hair designer Hrafnhildun Arnardottin
created this stunning hairdo.

I have seen individual hair "flowers" 
on Ebay before, somehow I think I will look
at them differently now.

What do you think?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mourning Hair Wreath

This Victorian Mourning hair wreath might
be one of the prettiest ones I have seen.
I love that it is so light and delicate looking.

Dating to somewhere in the 1870's this wreath
would have originally had a large and probably ornate
shadowbox frame around it.
But I think I prefer it in it's much more simple state
of just the "box" part.


This "tree of life" memorial piece includes hair from
several family members and came from
a very old Illinois estate.

At 18'high x 22' wide,
this piece includes white seed beads, black bugle type beads,
and glass pearl type beads as well as the hair.

(currently available on Ebay)
(happy bidding!)


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Victorian Mourning Hair Jewelry

In Memory Of.....................................
                A few mourning pieces I have found lately:

I particularly like this pin, I think because it is
a rectangle . Most of the ones I find seem to be ovals.
This pin has a black enamel front, and 
what looks to be sterling back, although it isn't marked.
The hair is a brown color and is
arranged in a loosely woven knot.

It is monogramed on the back with the name
A.R. Moore.

This second pin is about 1 inch wide,
9k gold,  with a little beveled glass top.
The hair is brown with maybe a couple of blonde hairs (?) 
It is laid inside in casual loops.

It's a bit hard to read, but my best guess is .......
Marg Sarah
Lady Morris
obt 17, Jan 1842.
(There is a mark of some kind after Marg, 
I wonder if that is short for Margaret?)

I am not sure what metal this third pin is made of. It measures
about 5/8 by 7/8 inches.
I think it was a pin at one time and was converted
to a watch fob piece or a pendant.
The hair is blonde and is laid out in
a nice braid similar to the first pin.
No name on the back.

These are all examples of
Victorian hair jewelry.
Are they all mourning pieces?
Again hard to say, but I think it's a safe bet that the second
pin is for sure.

This last piece I found is a button.....................
it measures about 3/4 inch in diameter.

The young mans face feels like a photo that was
carefully molded around a button form.

The back is cloth and has a loop
for sewing it to a piece of clothing.
There is no way to know if this is a mourning piece
or if "he" was going to be separated for a while
from someone that loved him and
wanted a love token or a memento.

Hair jewelry and hair art was very popular in
The Victorian Era.
Queen Victoria wore several rings which were made from the
hair of her husband the deceased Prince Albert.
For the Victorians death was a common and accepted part of
their everyday life.
Not only was the infant mortality rate higher,
adults died at earlier ages of ailments that are more easily cured these days.
Then of course for Americans the Civil War
took its toll as well.
Some pieces were done as " momento mori"
("remember you must die")
and some were made as love tokens
between sweethearts and also between family members or best friends.
Although some were made by professional jewelers ,
there were kits available for people that wanted
to try their hand at making their own.

While I am sure there are some that would find these
  hair pieces morbid,
I think they are fascinating pieces of history,
little reminders that give clues to life as it was before the
turn of the century.

A couple of interesting "hair facts":

*The most expensive celebrity hair ever sold was that
of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara,
which was taken from him by a CIA operative.
It sold in 2007 for $119,000.

*Hair from Elvis was sold by his personal barber for
$115.120. It went to an anonymous buyer during an
online auction Nov.15,2002.

*Hair from John lennon sold for $48,000.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Evergreen Cemetery.......

While driving by Evergreen Cemetery a few days ago, I caught a glimpse
through the trees of the massive Ruckers Tomb.
I hadn't seen the tomb in years* so I decided to take the time to visit.
Built in 1907 by the Rucker Brothers to honor their mother, Jane,
the tomb stands about 50 feet tall.

The granite tomb houses the remains of several of the Rucker family members.
There are twentytwo crypts in the tomb, about half of which are occupied.
At the time the tomb was built the cost was $30,000,
a fortune at that time.
The Rucker family is one of the prominent pioneer families of Everett, Wa.
and there are members of the family still living in Everett today.

Evergreen Cemetary has four governors buried there , as well as
Sen. Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson.

*Years ago I MIGHT have climbed this tomb
with friends......at night.....in the dark......
On second thought, I am taking the fifth.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Victorian Mourning Hair Art

Victorian "Family Tree" Hair Art Book..........................

There are nine pages in this amazing  book.
These pages were at one time tied together,
but the "ties" or ribbons are gone.
The family represented in these pages was from the Nora Springs,
Iowa area, and the dates are from 1887-1897.

Lillian M. Seaman......18yrs.

Benjamin Seaman...born August 6,1823

Binnie F. Seaman....born Oct. 30,1843........54years old

Alma......19 years old. Born 29,1867....died Sept. 26,1887.
This also has her hair from when she was two years old.

Josie, 17 years old, born August 31,1870...died Sept. 26, 1887
(Josie died the same day that Alma did. Interesting.)

Callie, 25 years old...born May 3, 1872.
This also has Callies baby hair.

Great Grandma Williams....83 years old.
Grandma Williams.....53 years old
Grandpa Williams.....80 years old.

Benji F. .....18years old....born Sept.4,1878

Everett F., born Sept 3, 1877......died Oct10,1894
Age 18.
( at one time a curl of baby hair was on this page)

The cover of this album.

I thought this was a real interesting example of
mourning hair art....as well as an interesting way to record a family tree.
Some in this family died at an early age and some lived to what was quite an old age for this time.

I am intrigued by the fact that two of the girls seemed to have died on the same day,
(Josie and Alma)
I wonder what the circumstances were?

Also the fact that some of the family have hair from when they were
babies as well as when they were older is interesting to me.
Was this because it was customary to collect "first curls"?
And was the fact that so many children died in early childhood the reason that
this was customary?

I think this is a lovely way to  mourn, remember,
and celebrate family members.

I do however find it sad that this is no longer in the possession
of the family that took the time to make this

(This was offered in an online auction, I contacted the owner and 
she gave her permission to share it with you. )

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mary Mourning Jesus


William-Adalphe Bouguereau

anonymous, circa 1500 (?)


The Pieta is a subject in Christian art depicting
The Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus,
most often found in sculpture.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mourning Etching


This is an antique etching print
circa 1890.

I thought the remarque etching of the funeral
wreath with ribbons was particulary interesting.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Artist, SUSAN LENZ

Headstone Rubbings.........................

Some of the most interesting Memorial Art I have come across lately is an art project called "Grave Rubbing
Quilt Series" by Susan Lenz. Susan does rubbings and then using a combination of machine and handstitching turns them into amazing "wall quilts". I wanted to show you a few of my favorites.

"Weep Not For Me"

"Weep Not For Me".........reverse side

"In God's Care"

"In God's Care".....reverse side

"He Who Is"

"He Who Is" reverse side
I love that Susan uses various vintage textiles as the backings for these wall quilts. For me it's like Susan
takes a subject that could be considered solemn and through her use of oft times colorful textiles on the back
and the addition of buttons on the front , in her own unique way turns these art works instead into a respectful celebration of someones life.

A quote from Susans blog: " Mortality, especially my own, and MEMORY.....these are the feelings
I have when visiting cemetaries......and I love walking through graveyards. There are stories just beneath the surface....entire families who have left a mark, a name, a clue to their existence. I feel close to history and part of the inevitable evolution of life. I think about the work I want to make before I die. I think about the symbolic hourglass and the sands of time.....how do I want to spend the remaining years, months, weeks, days, hours....."

Susan has created a blog dedicated solely to this series, you can find it listed on my blogroll at the left.
This isn't the only art she does, she has other incredible series, and installations as well. If you would like to see more of Susans art you can go to her main blog, http://artbysusanlenz.blogspot.com/ and from there you will be able to find your way to her other blogs and sites.

Monday, March 12, 2012


      Memento Mori.....

Very old 11"x9" oil on canvas painting,
probably  1700-1800.
Likely Latin American or Spanish.
I came across this on Ebay, unfortunately
beyond my budget.
Even needing repair I find it beautiful.