A year ago, in the midst of Grief 1.0, I experimented with turning the cards and flowers we received when Catherine died into handmade paper. It took a lot of experimenting, as it was both my first try at paper making and I only had the barest minimum of scrounged equipment, but two weeks later I ended up with 50 index-card-sized pieces of satisfying flower-infused paper.
My plan at the time was to use the paper to create a touchstone in Catherine’s memory that I could, with pleasing circularity, send back to those who’d sent the cards from which the paper was made.
Life, COVID, and a sense that I wasn’t quite ready to finish this project intervened and a year passed. This morning, though, I woke up resolving that today was the day.
I printed a line from the lyrics of Pure Imagination, sung by Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and composed for the film by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. The film was one of Catherine’s favourites, and the sentiment of this line gets to the heart of her ethos. The craggy imperfections of the paper and the crisp ruddiness of the type also happen to be a good avatar for where my artistic sensibilities met Catherine’s: in general, I would avoid the roughness and she would avoid the type.