This body of work was developed during artist residence at World of Co, Sofia Bulgaria (May 2018) and examines the process and purpose of grieving through ritual and objects. 

The title and structure of this work have been developed through the work of Arnold Van Gennep's Ethnographic studies on Rites of Passage (Les rites de passage, 1909) and Hiraku Suzuki’s academic study of Japanese death rituals (The Handbook of Death and Dying, 2003), with particular emphasis on making symbolic contrasts and transitioning objects from life to death.

Although death is intrinsic to our human experience, knowing how to grieve and move through it, is not.

Through ritual, photographic documentation, sound art and object artefacts, IDA SOPHIA offers a rite of passage through grief. A rite in which our departed loved ones can move beyond this mortal realm and we, through repetition, teach ourselves that we are very much alive and living.

The symbology throughout this work is carefully constructed to enhance contrast between life and death. 

  • Separation: Black, the absence of light. Universal colour of death and separation.

  • Transition: Grey, detached, neutral in nature. Representative of the ambiguity of identity that exists during the middle of a ritual where those concerned are neither whom they began as, nor who will they will become. Sound Art: Shapeless and ambiguous in form, mirroring the shapelessness and ambiguity of a travelling soul.

  • Incorporation: Red, the blood line. The continuation of life for the person performing the ritual.

Ritual Process Time: Approximately 9 hours


The following steps outline a ritual for letting go of our departed loved ones. 

It is recommended to complete all steps in one sitting to maintain the momentum and rhythm of the Ritual.



To separate the lingering soul from remaining earthly ties.


  1. Take an item of clothing that belonged to your loved one.

  2. Choose a quiet surrounding, somewhere that you know you will not be disturbed. Allow the image and memory of your loved one to be present in your thoughts.

  3. Acknowledge the ritual beginning. Prepare yourself to separate them from life.

  4. Taking as long as required, unpick each stitch. Separate the pieces.



To guide the departed through this transition state, toward the eternal home.


  1. Take a small, empty box.

  2. Speak into the box. Communicate to your transitioning loved one, all the things you have wanted to say.

  3. Repeat three times: I Free You

  4. Close the box and take it outside. Open the box to the wind. Release your words.



To symbolically acknowledge the release of the departed from the physical, earthly realm.


  1. Carefully lay out before you, the pieces of fabric that you have separated. Prepare a needle and thread.

  2. Again, in a quiet surrounding, allow the image and memory of your loved one to be present in your thoughts. Acknowledge where they are now and silently releasing the thought of them; let your loved one go.

  3. Sew the pieces back together without knotting the end of the threads. This symbolises the garments purpose, now removed from serving a living being.

  4. Upon completing the last stitch, take a deep breath.

The ritual has come to its end.  


Time: Unlimited