Momento Mori 3 – Ritual

Chinese bronze - for the end of a staff. Sketchbook

Background to the Momento Mori quilts:

OK, so not everyone likes my quilts as they are not what you might normally expect to see and are sometimes quite challenging, but in my small studio tucked away in the middle of a bustling town, I try to pour my heart and soul into what I do – art quilts that hopefully speak volumes, in this case about a history often overlooked. At the moment I’m trying to stitch together quilts that celebrate the experiences of Windrush elders who journeyed to the UK in the mid century and onwards and use the Museum’s sampler collection to build at least 3 quilts based on the ideas around Momento Mori.

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, such as hour glasses (or in my 2023 case, chicken egg timers to bring it up bang to date), clocks, extinguished or guttering candles, fruit, and dying and decaying flowers.

Weaving together threads of tradition, symbolism, and cultural practices for the upcoming exhibition at Leamington Spa Art Gallery. An exploration of mortality and the afterlife – a creative journey to produce a series of quilts under the theme of “Momento Mori,” reflecting on life’s transience and the rituals surrounding death.

Drawing inspiration from prayers found on samplers in the museum’s collection,  I’ve produced a small series of quilts that delve into the profound theme of mortality. Titled “Stepping Off The Edge,” “Be Happy,” and “Ritual,” each quilt explores different facets of our existence and the mysteries beyond.


Momento Mori 3 Ritual is still under construction but is a large piece continuing the Momento Mori theme inspired by the prayers on samplers.

Ritual is based on responses to death in rituals and belief across many different cultures. These rituals are concerned with explanation, validation and integrations into other peoples views.

The quilt, “Momento Mori 3 – Ritual”, follows practices and symbols across many layers of history. There is much to do, but the elements have been pieced together, and I have begun the initial work on the chains, hands, insets, and have begun to add the images of various and significant objects.

This piece is being worked in panels and the first panel is done. It’ll be a background as seen in the photo of the ibis below.  The more complex middle panel with drawings using pen and paper will be waxed and held on chains.

Sacred Ibis




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