The Fabric of Memory – A textile art and mixed media collaged piece

The Idea

We all have memories of trips to the seaside both as children and as adults, often with our own children. Memories can be vague images, perhaps only recaptured briefly when our minds are jogged by something later: maybe by a similar place or by something much more transient like the quality of the light or a smell. Overlaying these snatches of the past are more certain memories based on things kept at the time.

My textile art piece attempts to illustrate this fabric of memory, from the ridges that the tide leaves forming a firm, if sometimes shifting backdrop in our minds, through fond images of children playing, to the sharper and so more colourful memories fixed by the artifacts we have collected.

I made this piece for an exhibition entitled “Beside the Seaside” when I was a member of Meniscus Textile Artists.

I used mixed media (fabric, paper and paints principally), with free machine embroidery.

The Inspiration

Our children used to make scrapbooks each year on our annual summer holidays. At first it was a way to entertain them on long journeys or a filler for quiet times before bed. And all they contained were sweet wrappers and bits and pieces they had found during the day. But as they got older they kept them as illustrated diaries, each entry a little gem fixing a fleeting moment that might otherwise have been forgotten.

The Process

I created the background for this textile art piece by rubbing yellow fabric over sandpaper with crayons to create the illusion of a sandy surface. I then added the names and dates of many of the places we have visited, using free machine embroidery, creating the idea of the ridges on the sand left as the tide goes out.

I added copies of pictures from the scrapbooks and embroidered snippets of their words in their handwriting, including the original spelling.

The little silhouetted figures dotted about on the piece were created from photos of our children at play.

Finally I added some pictures of artefacts that we had collected in the past, on our own holidays before having children.

Such Happy Days!

And the sun always seemed to shine………….

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