Sunday, January 30, 2011

Alive On Canvas

I recently read an article in the Alive Alone Newsletter,(published every 2-3 months for parents who have lost their only child or all their children) dealing with how families can share and enjoy cherished items from their deceased child. I think it’s a fantastic idea.

Artist Gina Klawitter creates life-like, celebratory portraits featuring her subjects’ personal clothing and belongings. From recital dresses to sports uniforms and play outfits, Gina artfully forms clothing and other memorabilia items into custom collage paintings. She calls her unique collage art, Alive on Canvas.

One set of parents used their son’s beloved baseball t-shirt, cap and other items related to his love of baseball. Another family wanted to commemorate and celebrate their daughter’s life. She wanted to be a ballerina and so they took her tutu and dance shoes and made an art piece out of it.

Gina consults with her clients. Some know exactly what they want. Others defer to Gina after showing her some clothing, photos and related memories they’d like to use. Gina helps identify and compose a story that captures the loved one’s essence. In person or by email, Gina shares the art with her client at different stages for feedback and confirmation.

This process is a lovely, tangible and expressive way for bereaved families to celebrate and memorialize a loved one. For those who desire to make their own portrait collage piece as a hands-on way of healing, Gina has a book that guides do-it-yourselfers through the process. For more information visit

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