Life 10 – Leaf Mould

Life 10 – Leaf Mould
Finished! With the usual caveat of “touching up and frame required”.

Why Leaf Mould? 
Life 10 is about the futility of war.  The idea came from reading a bit in a magazine about the blitz on Coventry and how bombing almost entirely destroyed the city.  It was called operation Moonlight Sonata and happened during the evening of 14th November 1940.  My research into people’s stories of course just led on and on, and my thoughts became distilled into Leaf Mould.

Readers to the blog and facebook pages, have kindly sent me images of their families during WW2 and these have been printed onto fabric for me by Laura Kemshall.   The leaves form a carpet which is of course beginning to break down, forming leaf mould.  People are born, and they die. Fleeting memories are all that are left. They are absorbed into the earth, but their experiences nourish and change us. Sometimes they help us to grow. (My words)

As with all the Life Quilts, there are layers of meaning to be found if you wish to look. 

The words on the body are from a poem by Tom Walker, about the futility of war.

When greed sups with the devil
And principles are shed
When power is corrupted
And truth stands on its head
When fear pervades the confused mind
And fools are easily led
When reason is a prisoner
The bell tolls for the dead.

Tom Walker


Details of leaves with images printed on them and then painted.

The “soil” background fabric was printed for me by Laura and has a list of all the wars ever. (or as complete a list as I could make it)

The strips of fabric sewn onto the soil are covered with statistics about deaths from various wars:

World War 2 1939-45 between 50 and 80 million deaths. Spanish Civil War 1936-36, 1 million deaths. Paraguay 1864 – 1870, 1 million deaths. Mongol conquests 1206-1368, 50 million deaths. China 1340-1368, 30 million deaths. China 1616-1662, 25 million deaths. China 1851-1864, 20 to 100 million deaths. World War 1914-18 15,  65 million deaths. Timur-e-Lang 1369-1405, 20 million deaths. China 755 – 763, 13 to 36 million deaths. China 1862-1877, 12 million deaths. Japan 1894-1945, 5 to 30 million deaths. Russia 1917-1921, 5 to 9 million deaths. Congo 1998 – 2003, 5 million deaths. Napoleonic Wars 1803 – 1815, 4 to 7 million deaths. Holy Roman Empire, 1618 -1648, 3 to 12 million deaths. China 1840’s to unknown, 3 to 7 million deaths. Nigeria 1967 to 1970, 3 million deaths. Afghanistan 1979 onwards, 1.5 to 2 million deaths so far. Poland 1655 to 1660, 4 million deaths. Korean War 1950 – 1953, 4 million deaths. Vietnam 1955 to 1975, 1 to 3 million deaths. France 1562 – 1598, 2 to 4 million deaths. Africa 1816 – 1828, 2 million deaths. Sudan 1983 – 2005, 2 million deaths. Holy Crusades 1095 – 1291, 1 to 3 million deaths. France 50BC to 58BC, 1 million deaths. China 1856 – 1973, 1 million deaths. Mexico 1911 – 1920, 2 million deaths. Iran/Iraq 1980 – 1988, 1 to 2 million deaths. America 1861 – 1865, 80,000 deaths. Spain 1936 – 1939, 1 million deaths. Paraguay 1864 – 1870, 1 million deaths. 

And that’s it really.



  1. Moved by this Annabell. My father was 35 when he was injured at the end of the war. He was paralysed from the waist. Just one of many.

    • Thank you for your comment Maura. So very sad for your father. My lists contain numbers of those killed, but does not include those who died from famine or disease afterwards, or from injuries. What an awful thing to have happened to your father – it’s just not right. x

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