Life Drawing into Death

Bring your dolls, she said, and so I did.  We became an installation amongst the monochrome artworks of the Drawn exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy, Drawing School's unique event, All Souls Eve - Life Drawing into Death.  I sat surrounded by my offerings, and small groups of visitors would find a seat and materials, and began to respond creatively.   I talked of the finding, wrappings and mindful stitching of this and that, the power of totemic objects, hope in healing for others, the ritual performative events to mark the loss of loved ones. There was mention of creative exchange with other artist friends, gifting of materials and sharing process.  The story dolls listened on, whilst in the quietness of the gallery, participants quietly drew, observing and responding in detail, whilst real life stories unfolded.  There would be sometimes question asked, did you ever find the lost cat, oh no, I replied.   How can you bear to sell your dolls when they are so personal to you, was another question.  One woman on entering had cried out, oh no, I don't like dolls, but at the end of the process she had been captivated.  The space became filled with quiet attention, sadness and laughter, acknowledgement for... the never to be baby resting in the herb filled colander, the pilgrim doll adorned with giftings of this and that from around the world, the doll with her world on her head, and the seekers of the light, wrapped, bundled and ever present.  At the close of the event, the diversity of drawings were inspirational and showed profound feeling, delicacy and sensitivity.