Just five days before she died, Chris Nichols interviewed Chris about living artfully. The conversation was filmed and edited by Chris Nichols’ son Ric. I found it almost unbearably poignant to watch at first, but I’m sharing it because it’s a wonderful memorial to Chris’s indomitable spirit and creativity.
The diamond-shaped object shown in the film, on which Chris has, in her words, “sprinkled some glitter” – actually gold leaf – is a mort brod, an ancient form of memento mori inspired by one we saw hanging in St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall a few years ago.
Chris designed it and made it herself with the help of local artist Nicola Clarke whose extra pair of hands compensated for Chris’s increasing lack of dexterity. It hangs in a window by the front door of Folly Cottage, as a sign of mourning and as a daily reminder of the transience and preciousness of all our lives.
In the last few weeks of her life, Chris wrote about the idea of a cosmological self, and what it might mean to more fully acknowledge that we are intrinsically and unavoidably aspects of the infinite and terrible beauty of the universe. Artful as ever, she expressed this expansive sense of belonging – her “juicy edge” – in the images decorating the mort brod, as you can glimpse in the film.
Thank you Chris and Ric Nichols for making this film and allowing us to share it.