Jamie Weaver. Faith Medicine. One-of-a-kind.
(Chicago, IL: Jamie Weaver, 2012). Sam Fleming Southern Civilization Collection.
Vanderbilt University Special Collections
This unique creation by Jamie Weaver is a one-of-a-kind homage to her father and traditional Appalachian folk remedies. The cards bears a recipe for a homemade folk remedy on one side and a text about the artist's deceased father on the other, both of which are illustrated. A twenty-first card gives the title, a statement by the artist and the colophon. The cards are accompanied in this presentation by a booklet made to suggest a tiny photograph album, containing a series of sepia-toned photographs featuring a man whose face is intentionally blurred, presumably the artist's father. This booklet is in double leaves, bound in red cloth over spineless boards with sewing exposed, and a single feather is glued to the front cover. Also included are 20 small feathers and a set of five glass vials containing infusions of different plant materials. All materials are housed in a custom-divided clamshell box covered in red cloth with a textured lining resembling snakeskin.
While attending a Mildred Haun Conference on Appalachian Studies, the artist became intrigued by a presentation of traditional homemade folk remedies. This triggered childhood memories of rambling through the woods with her father on their West Virginia farm to dig ginseng and sassafras roots for making tea. Now that her father has passed away she attempts to acquaint herself with homemade folk remedies as a way of reconstructing memories of her father and healing from his death. “Everyone has faith in something, says Ms. Weaver, a higher power, the human spirit, a cure. However, I wonder to what extent any of these things truly heal us, and whether it might be less painful to hold on to memories, or to purge them from our system. I think that if something heals us, it is largely because we choose to believe that it does.”