This vintage ephemera collage, From a Far Country, was originally created for the book Storytelling With Collage: Techniques for Layering, Color, and Texture by Roxanne Evans Stout. This is my story about the piece:
One day my husband and I were walking through a field near our land out in the country, when we came upon some gravestones under a huge old tree. Many had fallen over or broken, but we were able to gather, by examining the rough and eroded pieces of limestone, that they belonged to a family named Kilgallen, some of whom had been born in Ireland during the mid-1800’s. The land was not now owned by anyone by that name, and as far as we knew, there was no one by that name in the area. It was a mystery – what was their story? I couldn’t help wondering about them – what had made them leave the land they knew, to immigrate to an unknown place a continent away? It appeared that some of them had been children when they came here; others had been born here, and some died in infancy or childhood. Had the family given up, and moved on to another place? Perhaps they moved west, as many were doing during those years. They captured my imagination, and I wondered how one would find the courage to leave behind your whole life, get on a ship, and leap into an unknown future. I imagined a young girl, scared and uncertain, trying to put down roots in this wild and unsettled country. It was this imaginary girl who inspired this piece.
The vintage ephemera collage centers on the immigrant girl, whose face is a vintage cabinet card photo. I made her coat from an old sewing pattern and finished it with antique pearl buttons. It also features antique lace, a monoprint flower, and stitching. The stitched roots refer to putting down new roots after moving to a new country, which is symbolized by the map. Other materials include a vintage envelope, the image of a ship, and part of an old trunk clasp. From a Far Country is done on a vintage book cover, and measures 14.25 x 9.5 inches. It come wired on the back for easy hanging, or may be framed by the purchaser in a deep-profile shadowbox frame if desired. This piece will bring the perfect touch of history and adventure to any home.