Crafting as a Continuing Bond: Exploring the Links between Traditional Handicrafts and Lost Loved Ones

Religion, Death and the Senses - Christina Welch

Enya Healey-Rawlings [+-]
University of Winchester
Enya Healey-Rawlings is a Postgraduate student studying Death, Religion & Culture at the University of Winchester. Her lifelong passion for crafting and the arts began at a young age with a world -renowned artist for a grandfather and an equally talented quilter for a grandmother. This familial history of crafting fuelled her desire to study Costume Design & Making for her undergraduate degree. Her current studies are focused on her passions of crafting and the studies of death and death rituals around the world.

Description

Drawing on the continuing bonds theory of Klass, Silverman, and Nickman (1996) and the work of Dr Anna Fisk on knitting as a form of mourning and memory (2019, 2021), in this chapter I will explore the role that traditional handcrafting can play in continuing a relationship with a deceased loved one. As a crafter engaged in the study of death through the Death, Religion and Culture MA, I argue that crafts such as knitting, crochet and sewing offer a space for therapeutic, contemplative reflection surrounding a death and grieving process and that the use of these crafts can offer a capacity for memorializing and remembering our ancestors. The ritualistic aspect of these traditional crafts and the tactile nature, as well as history behind some of the items used within knitting, crochet and sewing offers a tangible and comforting facet to the grieving process. Finally, I will explore the historical importance of handicrafts, as well as the modern-day necessity for continuing these traditional crafts and the impact of feminism on knitting’s culture & prevalence.

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Citation

Healey, Enya. Crafting as a Continuing Bond: Exploring the Links between Traditional Handicrafts and Lost Loved Ones. Religion, Death and the Senses. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jun 2024. ISBN 9781000000000. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=43883. Date accessed: 26 Nov 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.43883. Jun 2024

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