Objects of Grief

Objects of Grief

Grief is a word that encompasses far more than its five letters let on. It extends its way into unexpected facets of everyday life, and exposes itself as a wound at inconvenient times. This series explores a small fraction of grief through Otto Kernberg's notions of permanent alterations of the self post mourning. It is understood that grief does not dissipate, so it was important to approach this series with that understanding, to further investigate the evolution of grief into amorphous manifestations, and dissect how moments of grief come about. The creation of clay tissues were used to birth Kernberg's ideas into fruition as tissues are a commonly passive item in the presence of grief. Further to their literal representation, tissues also speak to the notion of disposability. They are typically thrown away without a second thought, yet sometimes, when discovered in the right context, display inordinate amounts of sentimentality. Throughout the process the literal correlation of the clay forms to the overarching theme was evident, however it became clear that the manner in which the clay tissues were presented offered an opportunity to explore their amorphous nature. The series transitioned from art installation to wearable accessories that could be worn with individual intention yet provide the desired weight of the topic.


The tissues were assembled together into a bracelet, choker necklace and hair clips to be worn in a variety of ways, depending on individual aesthetic. The versatility of the series speaks to the metamorphosis of grief and its lack of disintegration. Emphasis should also be placed on the making process, which infused meaning into the tissues and provided them an emotional charge. Making the tissues served as an authentic experience for the artist as she was determined to give the clay a realistic portrayal of used tissues. Lastly, this project holds personal significance to the artist as loss of her mother-in-law at the beginning of the COVID 19 global pandemic was sudden and unexpected. The mourning process changed due to the global pandemic with the understanding that mass loss was happening at one time. Ultimately, this series proved to be an opportunity for the artist to understand her own grief during a time of chaos.

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