Our theme for the past two months was memory and I thought a great deal about it. As part of my process, I asked my mother to send me pictures of the two of us together, hoping that one of the pictures she sent could be recreated for this challenge.
As it turned out, it was the combination of the note she sent and the photos she selected that led me to this piece. My mother sent pictures from a family vacation. In her note, my mother wrote, "Do you remember this wonderful day on the dunes?" Well, if you saw my face in the picture, you'd know that I had a completely different feeling about the day and hence, a completely different memory of it.
That got me thinking. Two people may share some of the same facts of an event (dunes; summer vacation; Mom, Dad, and me), but our emotions, circumstances, and biases can tumble up those facts into a completely different recollection. As time goes by, our memories often become more of a collage, as opposed to a clear picture, of what happened. Let me reference the following from documentation from the New Jersey criminal court system, describing in-court instruction for witness identification:
Human memory is not foolproof. Research has revealed that human memory is not like a video recording that a witness need only replay to remember what happened. Memory is far more complex. The process of remembering consists of three stages: acquisition -- the perception of the original event; retention -- the period of time that passes between the event and the eventual recollection of a piece of information; and retrieval -- the stage during which a person recalls stored information. At each of these stages, memory can be affected by a variety of factors.
With all this in mind, I decided to created a piece that tried to visually represent the passage of time on memory. Acquisition, retention and retrieval -- three different elements of remembering -- are braided together to create our personal memories.
The letters are colored in with water soluble wax crayons. I chose a font with letters that aren't entirely whole to represent the tiny gaps we sometimes have in our memory from the very beginning. To help me get the braid -- and colors -- right, I first braided three different ribbons together and tried to draw them.
I tried to include dimensionality to the coloring on my piece, but that didn't show up as much as I'd hoped.
I swirled all the colors together -- and let them bleed into one another -- at the bottom of the piece to represent how all the pieces of our memories get smooshed together. Sometimes, elements of one part of our memory gets mixed up with another. Did it really happen in that order, we might ask ourselves.
I think the negative space in the quilt is a bit unresolved. I contemplated all different sorts of quilting for the white: echo quilting, meander quilting, a braid-like pattern, and more. I couldn't settle on any one idea. I worried that the quilting on the sides would compete, in some way, with the primary focus of the braid. I didn't want any other "strands" to mess up the idea. At the moment, I think the quilt looks a bit unfinished. I'd welcome any thoughts you have.
To see all the fabulous quilts from the group, please look at our blog. Our next theme is the sound of silence. I don't have a clue what I'm going to do for that one.