February 16, 2009
There was this old wooden trunk that had sat in the garret for ages. I knew it belonged to a family member who had travelled to North America in the late 19th century. He and his family settled somewhere in the state of Wisconsin, and lived there for quite a few years. For unknown reasons to me, part of the family came back to Europe (France). Again the sea trunk was part of the journey home. It was transported here and there along the years and the various movings until I received it from my own grandfather before he left for his own journey. And since then the trunk has been waiting patiently, up in the garret of the house until someone curious would open it !
I did so a few years ago and was very surprised to find several sorts of thin and colourful materials (lining). Some of them were already cut and sewn together in narrow strips, others lay untouched on the flowery paper that covered the inside of the trunk. I have no idea who could have sewn these pieces of fabrics together, nor what their use would have been. On a cool and grey weekend I decided to start sewing them together. Just the way the strips of materials were assembled, sometimes adding a piece here and there to get more or less the same lenght. Here is the beginning of a wall hanging (maybe but maybe not?) I sewed with some of these forgotten strips. More are waiting to be added.
I am not sure yet how this pannel will look like when all the fabrics will be sewn together. But I am so enjoying the journey though ! The crossing over the Atlantic in a ship of La Compagnie Transatlantique where many other hopeful passengers had embarked for a new life in America. Then travelling further from New York to Wisconsin, finding work, settling down, raising a family, learning a new language and way of life. All so different from the mountainous forest area they had left back home. Years later the family separated, the children stayed in America, the parents came back to Europe. If the trunk could speak… what stories would it tell ?