I spent a long time thinking about what I wanted to make, especially after seeing photos of the amazing vamps that were being submitted. I began thinking more and more about the women in my immediate family and how important they are to me and how much they have influenced me. I really started thinking about my grandma who passed away peacefully in 2009. She was unconventional, intelligent, and she had strong opinions about gender equality – and I miss her so much. She taught me about things like fractals, opera, and the importance of literature and vocabulary, and along the way showed me the value of independence and generosity and so much more. While thinking about her and this project, I was struck by how so many Aboriginal women are missing and how many have been brutalized and murdered – how some of these women are grandmas, or women who never got the chance to become grandmas. Imagining the heartache and loss their families go through is unbearable to me. All of these women are loved and deeply missed by their families and friends. All these women are important.
I just don’t have the incredible beading skills that so many people have used for their vamps. Instead, I stitched mine using materials that belonged to my grandma. The backing and buttons came from a shirt of hers that I kept after she passed away and the coloured sewing threads were also hers. The buttons represent my grandma, my mom, my two sisters and there is one button for me.
by Tania Budgell