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Blog

01

Jun

Disconnected

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Since the Compass program that screened 20 March this year, some of you may have left comments on my website.

Unfortunately, I didn’t receive them due to an issue with the site.  Firstly, my apologies that you were left hanging.  The problem has been fixed, so I am told, so please, if there was something you would like to have shared, please send it again.

Communication is the thread that binds lives and experiences.  I would love you to keep binding. Thank you.

01

May

Where on the road to ‘?’

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It would be strange for me to share anything from the Daily Telegraph. The reason I’m doing so with this article because it draws attention to the change in our death ceremonies. There is increased awareness of our freedom to make funerals whatever we wish them to be with nobody’s rules required but our own.

Whilst we can make a ceremony whatever we want it to be, as the article demonstrates, the highly styled antics on the horizon that turn ceremonies into a societal spectacle rather than a personal response to loss of a life concerns me. Link to article below.

Read more…

24

Apr

Sydney Writers Festival 2015

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Look who I had the joy of meeting during her book tour of When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes!   Hosted at the Casula Powerhouse, an author talk with the amazing Caitlin Doughty, as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, I was thrilled to hear Caitlin interviewed at both the Casula Powerhouse and Walsh Bay venues.  Both interviews revealed much about her work and her spirited personality.   If you’ve not read her book already, I urge you to do so.  It’s an informative and entertaining read.

24

Apr

Compass program 20 March 2016

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The Executive Producer of ABC TV program, Compass, contacted me when she read about the work that I do with Shroud Memento.  That program went to air on Sunday March 20th 2016.  For copyright reasons I’m unable to post the video of the program on my site but whilst the link is still available, you can watch it by clicking on the following titled Melany’s Remedy Series 30 Episode 4.

By watching this program you will have a better insight into the work that I do with Shroud Memento.

Read more…

07

Feb

Wrapped

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Image: Christo and Jeanne-Claude Wrapped Trees, Foundation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland, 1997-98, photo Wolfgang Volz © 1998 Christo

Christo Javacheff, the Bulgarian artist known simply as Christo, has always intrigued me since I first saw cliff faces and large buildings wrapped in silk cloth, and fields ribboned with bright yellow or brilliant white bands running for kilometres, his unique concept defying an art genre.

Recently I came upon a book about his life and his artistic collaborator and wife, Jeanne-Claude, titled Christo and Jeanne-Claude – A Biography by Burt Chernow (Wolfgang Volz 2002).  It was interesting, to me, how Chernow writes about the viewer’s response to the Christo’s earlier works of small wrapped objects, having no choice but to change the perspective of what viewers of the works saw not knowing exactly what to think.  Chernow says, “The act of shrouding can set routine perception askew.” (p.82)

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18

Oct

A Fallow Year

For various reasons this year has been one of retreat for me.  I’ve spent days wondering about Shroud Memento; about what to do, how to proceed, and when I pondered, so much thought surfaced that I didn’t know where to start so I poured it all back into where it came from; the timing wasn’t right.  Last week I came across Canadian poet and performer, Tanya Davis’ post, about her leave of absence from her work and she too found it difficult to express what had been happening for her.  Tanya used the writing of David Whyte to express her status. I saw Whyte’s words as a gift for they describe the essence of what has been happening in my life.  Whyte’s words  may offer clarity and insight into your own life

“Hiding is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Even hiding the truth from ourselves can be a way to come to what we need in our own necessary time. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear.

Read more…

07

Oct

Live Well Leave Well

Thankfully, we now hear more conversations and professionals speaking about our funeral ceremonies and the problematic lack of conversation around death, such a key moment of Life as is birth.  Death and dying are often categorised as a ‘health’ issue rather than a social issue.   It is not yet deemed a normalcy to talk openly about our own impending death or explore the range of funeral ceremonies and practices.  The traditional tendency for most of people is to leave preparation and decisions up to chance, or on the shoulders of family and friends (should they be beyond decision making) to speak on their behalf often guessing what they think would be right at the time, or with an undertaker or cleric who won’t know the deceased or their history.

Read more…

22

Aug

Still Life

What a perfect title for all that it connotates.    Still Life is a film about a man, John May, who works for a London local council and whose job is to find any relatives and friends of those who have passed away, alone.  This film isn’t just about people dying, it is about all aspects of life such as the events that connect people, our fears and motives behind our actions and creation of thought.

 

Still Life reminds us of what occurs in life yet are seldom seen by us on any day to day level.  Apart from an occasional story in the newspaper, we need to know that people do die alone and someone has to address the removal of the body, emptying of the living space, family or friends informed and a funeral to be arranged.

08

Aug

Celebration

Yesterday I hosted a workshop as a contribution to the important event of Dying to Know Day, an event that hosts and supports celebration of life and information about end of life preparation and after death ceremonies.

Isabella, who travelled from Melbourne to be with her ill friend, Marie, arriving before Marie died soon after.  Isabella came to my studio to work on the ideas she had in mind for a shroud for Marie yesterday.  Isabella presented with a piece of calico tie-dyed blue because Marie loved water.  She brought patterned material to make a heart-shaped centre that will feature a photo of her friend, and cut out blue birds, creating a connection to the brooch Isabella wore to our workshop.

Read more…

06

Aug

Melany Clark, Sydney

“It was a pleasure making the shroud with you and I’m so pleased with how much Mum and I got out of the experience.  Thank you so much for being the catalyst for such change. I’m very grateful.”