Momento Mori 2 – Be Happy

Momento Mori 2 – Be Happy (Throw Your Soul Open To The Sun) continues the sampler theme, thinking about the prayers and mottos stitched onto them. It’s not complete yet as there’s a little more painting eg the hair, to finish it. I might also add more larger creatures. I’m letting the dust settle before I decide and also while I come to terms with people thinking I’ve lost the plot.

Memento mori is simply a Latin phrase meaning “remember you must die” It’s a concept that has it’s origins in early medieval history and the idea was to remind us all not to dwell on the earthly but to think beyond to an afterlife. Flemish and Dutch painters famously explored this concept too and were very popular, producing some amazing still life paintings with skulls or other symbols to show time passing and the temporary nature of life,

The idea of a skull under the skin is not new and is used here in a self portrait to sympolise life and death. The right hand side is a celebration of life and a reminder to enjoy life and all it’s beauty while you can. Although I’m not sure if the painting is finished yet, the stitching is complete.  

The stitching is based almost entirely on cross stitch – the embroidery stitch used so often in samplers for text etc – but I have mixed it with free hand machining. The crosses on the right hand side are 22ct gold leaf and are there to add to the idea of life being precious.

Not something you see on a quilt every day, and you may not need reminding, but nevertheless “Be Happy” serves as a rallying cry to seize the day, to find joy in the midst of life’s uncertainties, and to cherish the precious gift of existence.

Detail momento mori 2 Throw Open Your Soul To The Sun
detail of momento mori 2 Throw Open Your Soul To The Sun
Detail skull and webs Momento Mori 2 Throw Open Your Soul To The Sun

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