Embroidered drawings and forensic taphonomy

My passion project, Molly- a true crime analysis, centres around a 63 year old Vancouver cold case.

On January 15, 1953, the skeletal remains of two children were found in the forest of Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  The victims became known as the Babes in the Wood.  The physical evidence indicated that the children were killed using a hatchet and confidently pointed to the involvement of a woman, likely the children’s mother.  Unsolved for over 63 years, the double homicide still haunts the city and fuels the imaginations of Vancouverites.  Several theories have been explored and many leads and tips have been followed; yet the identities of the two victims remain unknown.

Molly- a true crime analysis illustrates my research into this heartbreaking mystery.

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Sparrow feet, a gift from Hannah Ackeral

My involvement initially began as a volunteer researcher on the Babes in the Wood task force from 2003 to 2004.

This passion project- an illustrated book- is as much about the PROCESS and my deep involvement as it is about the cold case and the ultimate “end” product.  And yes- that process.  The creative process is incredibly magical and rewarding.  The project is directing itself in a sense, and I am following and trusting.

The book will include text (facts and interpretation), illustrations (including magic realism), photographs, primary sources, physical evidence, circumstantial evidence and artifacts.

I am currently reworking the text and illustrating.  I am experimenting with embroidered drawings.

Why embroidered drawings?

Certain drawings (in particular chapter headings) are embroidered as a means to reflect the act of connecting the dots and weaving together timelines, evidence and research.  The stitches are footsteps on a map.  It reflects deep thought and the passage of time.  It is historical.  Traditional.  Sacred.  It is about strengthening the fragile.  It fascinates me that a medium so cheap and easily torn such as newsprint becomes strong and hardy when layered and sewn together.  It can be manipulated and folded, handled, and only gains a lovelier patina.   There is something magical in that.

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… And when they were dead
The robins so red
Brought strawberry leaves
And over them spread;
And all the day long,
The green branches among,
They’d prettily whistle
And this was their song-
‘Poor babes in the wood!
Sweet babes in the wood!
Oh the sad fate of
The babes in the wood!’

“The Babes in the Wood,” Anonymous (ca 1595). Public domain.

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The Babes in the Wood, in progress

For serious inquiries, contact: Peter Breeze

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