Sorrow/Fullness: Recommended Reading

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All the resources listed below are available free for GVSU students, faculty, and staff through the University Libraries using your GVSU login credentials. Special thanks to University librarians Amber Dierking and Kim Ranger for their support of our exhibition reading lists.

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The following books were selected in support of the exhibition Sorrow/Fullness: A Reflection on Mourning, on view in the GVSU Art Gallery (PAC 1121) January 14 - April 1, 2022.

Click to access in the GVSU Libraries catalog.

Mourning Art & Jewelry

Maureen DeLorme
Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2004

Decorative art created to memorialize and commemorate death has been a part of Western culture for centuries. Extraordinarily beautiful examples of mourning art and memorial jewelry for members of royalty and the aristocracy date back to the 16th century in England and Europe. Medieval references to commemorative art predate even the extant pieces now in museums. During the Georgian and Victorian eras, outstanding pieces of mourning jewelry and artwork were found in a majority of homes in America, Britain, and Europe. Without being morbid or macabre, this book provides a fascinating text about mourning practices and historical influences that shaped individual and cultural perspectives surrounding death in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Click to access in the GVSU Libraries catalog.

Art Jewelry Today 4

Sandra Korinchak
Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2016

The pulse of today's jewelry art is captured in 400 beautiful color photos demonstrating today's top levels of mastery. Created by more than 70 contemporary international jewelry artists, these pieces of body-adorning sculpture-rings, collars, brooches, headpieces, and other adornments-are varied, surprising, and as multifaceted as today's art world. The makers' own explanations of the methods and inspirations that guide their work offer further ideas. Everyone who works in the jewelry field or who enjoys admiring or wearing jewelry will find this an invaluable reference and a sourcebook for future creativity. 

Click to access in the GVSU Libraries catalog.

The Good Death: An Exploration of Dying in America

Ann Neumann
Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2016

Following the death of her father, journalist and hospice volunteer Ann Neumann sets out to examine what it means to die well in the United States. If a good death exists, what does it look like? This question lies at the heart of Neumann's rigorously researched and intimately told journey along the ultimate borderland of American life: American death. From church basements to hospital wards to prison cells, Neumann charts the social, political, religious, and medical landscape to explore how we die today. The Good Death weaves personal accounts with a historical exploration of the movements and developments that have changed the ways we experience death. With the diligence of a journalist and the compassion of a caregiver, Neumann provides a portrait of death in the United States that is humane, beautifully written, and essential to our greater understanding of the future of end-of-life care.

Click to access in the GVSU Libraries catalog.

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

Caitlin Doughty
New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2017

Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. In rural Indonesia, she watches a man clean and dress his grandfather's mummified body, which has resided in the family home for two years. In La Paz, she meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and in Tokyo she encounters the Japanese kotsuage ceremony, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones' bones from cremation ashes. Doughty vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world's funerary history. She introduces deathcare innovators researching body composting and green burial, and examines how varied traditions, from Mexico's Días de los Muertos to Zoroastrian sky burial help us see our own death customs in a new light. Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular -- and, upon close inspection, peculiar -- set of 'respectful' rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process. Illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a story about the many fascinating ways people everywhere have confronted the very human challenge of mortality.

Click to access in the GVSU Libraries catalog.

Perspectives on Death and Dying: Cross-Cultural and Multi-Disciplinary Views

Edited by Arthur Berger [and others]
Philadelphia: Charles Press, 1989

A collection of essays that examine customs, beliefs, and traditions surrounding death and dying around the world. 

Click to access in the GVSU Libraries catalog.

Grief Demystified: An Introduction

Caroline Lloyd
London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018

Being able to offer support to the bereaved is an important part of many frontline professions, such as nurses, teachers, funeral directors and anything in between. Yet very little theoretical information about grief has filtered down into mainstream knowledge, and what has is often misinterpreted. Giving an accessible introduction to modern day grief theory, this book is the perfect guide to grief for counsellors, anyone wishing to support the bereaved, or the griever curious to how their grief works. Debunking commonly believed myths with information on how grief can vary from person to person, advice on communicating with the bereaved and details on the different kinds of grief, this book is an essential read for anyone working with the bereaved.

Click to access in the GVSU Libraries catalog.

Navigating Loss Through Creativity: Influences of Bereavement on Creativity and Professional Practice in Art Therapy

Rebecca Arnold
Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association; 2020, Vol. 37 Issue 1, p6-15, 10p

This pilot study explored how creative engagement could serve as a way to navigate the personal loss experiences of professional art therapists. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 3 participants. The results identified 6 themes and 16 subthemes: balancing personal experiences and professional practice, awareness of time, the loss experience, art making as a way to stabilize relationships, art as an intuitive practice, and creative expression for symbolic memorial to the deceased. This study revealed that visual art making could help art therapists develop self-knowledge and personal understanding regarding their own grief experiences that can lead to improved competence in the therapeutic care of others.

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Page last modified February 17, 2022