I loved drawing up ideas for this project because printmaking, particularly silkscreening, has often helped me work through grief. Everything from drawing up and editing an image, to coating the screen and waiting for the image to burn in, to dragging the paint over this suddenly reproducible image, is extremely meditative. The possibilities expand. The process is a lot of work, and in the past my arms often ached from lifting and cleaning the screens repeatedly, but there was also a sense of play involved. The final outcome of each print varied as the screen dried, and it was healing to experiment with those conditions and wait to see the results from the process.
In this particular design, a figure is holding an injured creature. They’re pulling it to their chest in a protective way, and their own body is bandaged. Parts of their body trail off and fade away into empty space and traces of diary-like text. The image as whole incorporates a sense of what is absent.
I also love the idea that the image is now part of an object designed to help people carry things. I wanted this design to be a symbol of hope and healing for anyone struggling with grief.
Madeleine Barnes is a poet and visual artist from Pittsburgh, PA. Her poetry and artwork have appeared or are forthcoming in places like Pleiades, Jai-Alai Magazine, Rogue Agent, BOXCAR Poetry Review, The Rattling Wall, Yew Journal, Three Rivers Review, The Rattling Wall, and Cordella Magazine. Her chapbook, The Mark My Body Draws in Light, was published in 2014, and she received her MFA from New York University.
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