Thursday, 26 April 2012

17. Saudade Journal Quilt



Usually my inspiration for a new Journal Quilt comes from an image. In fact  looking back at the ones I've made so far, most of those images have come from photographs I've taken in graveyards I've visited. If I add any text to the Journal Quilts it usually doesn't get done till the very end.

But this journal quilt is different in that I started with a word albeit a word I found on a gravestone located in my local graveyard in West Linton. I've blogged about it in the West Linton graveyard blog I write (and you can also see the picture below). At the very bottom of this gravestone you can just about discern the word Saudades. This is the plural of Saudade, a Portugese expression.

Some words simply can't be translated from one language into another as the concept simply doesn't exist in that other language. And Saudade is such a word. There is no single English word that conveys the same sentiment, I do have another language than English at my disposal and in Dutch the same concept can be translated directly into Weemoed. But in English I have to write my way around it to describe what the meaning of Saudade is, and even then it isn't easy. Here is the nearest I (and Wikipedia) can get to it: "a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist,.... a hankering for the past or something that has been lost". It's a word often used by emigrants to describe their longing from the place they have left (and that is exactly why it is on that gravestone!)No wonder then that it speaks to me, even though the longing for the country of my birth is no longer with me.

In this Journal Quilt I have tried to capture Saudade. The background came from one of the painted pages I made last summer (read more here) that was scanned into the computer and then printed out onto cotton fabric. The vintage image was also treated like that and layered up with a selection of other fabrics (including turban cotton) and stitched down. I added a gravestone image, flower embellsihments and 2 different charms in a mixture of religions. One the hand of Fatima (bought about 35 years ago in Tunisia) and the other an image of the Virgin and Child (acquired long even before the other charm from a Roman Catholic church in Germany). You can interpret this JQ as you want. Is it a bride longing for her now dead groom? I leave the meaning up to the viewer.

Remember I'm making one JQ for every week of 2012 as part of my 52 Journals project. If you want to see the previous ones, just click on the 52 Journals label below this post or check out the slideshow in the sidebar.

5 comments:

Lenna Young Andrews said...

wow. i love the explanation as much as i love the quilt! I will be thinking about this one for a while . . . thank you frieda, for sharing and for your prolific quilt making this year! i am certainly enjoying and being inspired. xxoxox

Linda said...

Impressive. Orange!? It's bold, modern but also has a vintage feel to the piece. Very well done. Thanks for sharing.

Marie Costa said...

I speak Portuguese and you captured 'saudade' in this journal quilt perfectly. It's hauntingly beautiful.

Jewels said...

Thanks for the story Frieda - and the quilt is lovely - I'm liking the rich colours

Leslie said...

What a perfect word. I've felt like that all my adult life but didn't have a name for it other than mild depression. Thanks for discovering it for me.
I'm enjoying your ambitious year of quilt journaling and this one especially.

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