Sunday, 11 December 2011

Vive Memor Lethi and an anniversary

Sometimes there is so much synchronicity in my life that I'm beginning to find it quite spooky. I was hoping for a good theme for the very last month of this year on the Sketchbook Challenge site but could hardly believe my eyes when they came up with: Trashed, Ruined and Decay. Despite it's grammatical shortcomings I knew in a flash of inspiration just exactly what I was going to do with it: mixing it up with my love of gravestones and graveyards!

I'm also combining this challenge with making my Journal Quilts this year for the Contemporary Quilt group and for them the Journal Quilts have to be 10" square and have to include buttons.

I grabbed my fabrics and produced an imaginary graveyard set in the open air. As it's December a snowy atmosphere also seemed appropriate. I added a selection of interesting gravestones photographed by me in various locations. From the top to the bottom and from left to right these are located in Newlands, Penicuik, Innerleithen and Temple, West Linton and West Linton. The photographs were printed onto cotton fabric sheets and machine appliqued to the background. The piece was handstitched extensively and the necessary buttons were added to some of the gravestones to correspond with the ornamention on them. I added ivy leaves (a mixture of felt and paper) to the edges as ivy is very often the plant that grows all over stones. To represent snow small glass balls were glued on (from Alpha Stamps).

The Journal Quilt came by it's title from the Penicuik gravestone (shown on an earlier post and also my 365th blip) i.e. Vive Memor Lethi. I've done a bit more research about this saying and here it is for those of you who are as fascinated by this kind of thing as I am!

Also transliterated as "leti", this phrase is attributed to 1st Century AD Roman poet Persius (Aulus Persius Flaccus) and is taken from Satires V 151-3:

indulge genio, carpamus dulcia ! nostrum est
quod vivis; cinis et manes et fabula fies.
vive memor leti ! fugit hora ; hoc quod loquor inde est

This, part of a speech by Luxury, may be translated as:
"Indulge your genius. Let us seize things that are sweet.
It's thanks to me that you're alive. You'll become ashes, a ghost, a fable. Live mindful of death. The hour is fleeing. Every word I speak is [stolen] from it."
The 'th' in lethi is the result of Romans attempting etymology, and getting it wrong! They had the Greek word Lethe, for a place in Greek mythology. .They spelt that with 'th' in an attempt to render the Greek word into Latin. Lethe was a river in the infernal regions, from which the Shades [deceased] drank and obtained forgetfulness of the past.The Latin word letum (whence leti), a poetic word meaning death, isn't related to Lethe, but , some Romans made a connection, thinking one derived from the other, so they spelt 'letum' and 'leti' 'lethum' and 'lethi'.

And finally, as they say, this is also my 5th anniversary of blogging. I started on this day, the 11th December 2006. How long ago this seems and yet contradictory the time has also flown. Had I know that I would still be wrestling with a dial-up connection I might have given up before I ever got going but here we are, still waiting for technology to catch up with the many rural locations here in Scotland. The fact that I persevered despite all that must mean that I simply love doing it.
For those of you with me from the start: THANK YOU!! And to those of you coming to me at a later date: THANK YOU! And if you're reading my blog for the very first time today: THANK YOU and WELCOME!!

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