Immortelles and inspirations: a logo for Life, Death (and the Rest)

Life, Death and the Rest) logo 2018
Our Life, Death (and the Rest) festival has been awarded Arts Council Funding
January 8, 2018
Arnos Vale Wedding Fair- Sunday 25th March
March 23, 2018

Immortelles and inspirations: a logo for Life, Death (and the Rest)

The creation of a logo is a delicate process with lots of tweaks and discussions but it needs to start with an idea.  Our inspiration for the logo for Life, Death (and the Rest) came from one specific item in the collection at Arnos Vale Cemetery; an immortelle.

Everlasting immortelle.

A what? An immortelle comes from the French word for everlasting.

Immortelles were mass-produced fake flowers used in the Victorian and Edwardian period for placing on graves in lieu of real flowers. They were the Victorian equivalent of our plastic flowers.  Real flowers were expensive and likely to die very fast in the dirty air.  Immortelles were usually made of china or plaster which were hand-painted to look realistic.

Immortelles were placed on graves, often under a glass dome, to show grief and as a token of mourning.  They were also there to attract visitors to pause at a grave and thinking about the deceased remembered there.

Visiting a cemetery was a very normal pastime for Victorians and the wide sweeping paths, sculpted landscapes and beautiful building of Garden Cemeteries were specifically designed for this leisure activity. Come and hear more about this at this Victorian leisure activity during Romany Reagans talk in May.

 Image courtesy of Austin Williams collection

The starting point

When commissioning a design from the talented Bethan Lientie we needed a starting point and this piece seemed ideal.

This particular immortelle was discovered on a grave on the Ceremonial Way at Arnos Vale whilst the grave was being cleaned.

Discovering this must have been very exciting, just the one flower is showing through the muck.

The plaster wreath got covered in dirt and leaf debris during the years Arnos Vale was neglected which actually protected this delicate item from animals, vandalism and weather.  Once it was lifted from the grave, it was then cleaned and repaired before being returned to the archives in the cemetery. We hope to mount it in the West Lodge exhibition space in 2018.

The new logo like the immortelle has been through a number of stages, but we are now proud to say it features on our website, cotton bag, brochure and even the banner outside the cemetery.

LDR logo 2018 thumbnail

 Lets talk about death

But what is Life, Death (and the Rest)? It’s a festival of eclectic performance, talks, exhibitions and film that encourages conversations about death, dying and living well.

But talking about death is morbid, right?’.  Actually talking about death can be surprisingly good for you, and your loved ones.  According to Freud; ‘It is indeed impossible to imagine our own death. We can’t imagine how we would be like dead, without being able to think or see, for example. We can’t accept our own death…’. However ending the silence about death can help to diminish its terrors and lead to improvements in the quality of life.   It can help people achieve a better work life balance, improve mental health, give people the tools to help loved ones who are dying, and to help difficult conversations to become easier.

According to the Guardian Death is now Cool

So talking about Death won’t kill you, and it might even make you happier.


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