A ‘Mezuzah’, a decorative case, affixed to the doorway of Jewish homes, connects with God, through the “Shema”, a handwritten prayer on parchment, contained within, offering protection, inside and outside the home.
“Shema” means listen, hear, accept. The first letter, Shin is a Mother letter, with the desire to receive for oneself and desire to share.
My mother Nora Meta Bruch, nee Zylberman, died on Mother’s day this year, May 8th 2016, she was 90.
I came back to Melbourne, two and a half years ago at her request, to renew my relationship with her, after living most of my life in Sydney.
Nora was born in Berlin, in 1925 and came to Sydney, by ship, as an adored only child, with both her parents, in 1937.
She studied fashion design, in the late forties, at the National Art School, and introduced me to op shops, long before they were “in”.
Mum was an extraordinary fashionista and loved to wear a mixture of animal prints, sometimes up to three in one outfit, she could also transform a secondhand dress into a one-off arty piece.
She was a Gemini, with a mercurial mind, who loved theatre, (my father was an actor), opera, the latest restaurant, exhibition or film. She played bridge regularly and read the newspapers every day.
I never saw myself as a sewer, however I find the meditation of it healing in my grief process. The felting method in my piece is called ‘nuno’, meaning cloth, which bonds loose fibred wool into another fabric, in this case, a sheer recycled scarf.
I’ve used a coat hanger, because it represents human shoulders, a hint of a person in the art, as well as being domestic and practical.
Mem the second letter is also a Mother letter, the third letter Ayin also means eye.
In my art piece I have linked the concept of the parchment, with pattern paper used for dressmaking, similar, with its caramel colour and black lettering.
My ‘Shema’ and “Mutti” (German for Mum) are in stitched lettering.
Pray along the dotted line, sing along the dotted line,
In the moment using my hands, sewing, gluing,
A piece from the past comes to life in the present
I remember my mother cutting the fragile paper
Confidently along the dotted line
Chalking white marks on the fabric