Thursday, December 2, 2010

Making a "Memory"

The inspiration for this art doll figure came to me from a friend who showed me her art quilt made to honor Alzheimer's patients.  It was beautiful and sad and wonderful and poignant.  Sadly my Mother-in-law has been an Alzheimer patient for many years.  All of my feelings for her were unleashed into the desire to create something of my own to reflect the pain of this disease.

BUT, I found that as I worked on this figure my thoughts on 'memory' went in another direction.  Thinking about memories I realized how much they are with me each day and wondered why I would remember some things and forget others.  Why would a moment when I was four years old and in the park with my Mother come into my mind but something that was probably much more important happening more recently disappear from my thoughts.  What makes a memory?  Why do we remember some events and forget others?  Why do some memories come back to us when we least expect them to? 

All of these thoughts swirled through my head as I added stitch after stitch to "Memory".  What started out as a 'sad' piece of work had turned into a whole batch of thoughts on what 'memory' actually is.  The one true thing that I learned as this piece of fabric became what is it, is that each day I am making new memories.  Some of them will become a part of me and my life and others will drift into nothingness.  Today I have a task to make each memory something I will delight in coming back to in a year or two or three. 

"Yesterday is but today's memory, and tomorrow is today's dream". - Kahlil Gibran


  1. Penny, I read this post yesterday, then decided to sleep on it before commenting. You are so in tune with my thoughts about memories, they are so much stronger from my youth than from last week, and I often wonder about them too. Your doll gives me feelings I don't even know how to verbalize -- it's lovely, pleasant, and calm (especially the stitches and the face -- how is that one done?), yet there's a kind of melancholy overall feeling to it. I don't know if it's the darker colors, the shape (that makes me wonder if we all don't fear losing some part of us, like the arms), the way the feet both turn in the same direction, the wonkiness of the hair, or just what it is! But there's a sense of losing control in all of those things, much like one has lost control over which life memories linger. Did I miss it somewhere, what are the three embellishments across the mid-section on the front? This doll is incredibly meaningful, and of course, I do love it.

  2. Barbara - Thank you for your thoughts (you know I always value them). My 'new' abstract dolls were not meant to be 'serious' but this one just grew out of things happening in my life right now. The three embellishments are rolled up paper with three of my own personal memories written inside. I should have mentioned that. Her face is embroidered - free hand. Thank you again for 'getting' what I was trying to say with this piece.

  3. I love that you personalized this doll even more than originally posted with those three personal memories. It changes the way I see her. At first I felt a swirl of conflicting, disjointed emotions. But now the three memories have become a focal point, and I see her embracing and keeping them close to her heart.

  4. Or, an overnight thought, maybe those 3 memories are now passed along to the doll instead. We all have at least a few memories we'd rather pass along. Either way, her face looks peaceful.

  5. These three were all 'good' memories - those you want to keep close to your heart.



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