Friday, February 14, 2014

maps to memory

Maybe because I am a hoarder, or Mum survived Berlin at the end of the war,
but I can relate to Geta Bratescu.
She is one year older than Mum, and like Mum, had to flee the bombs and Russians,
taking whatever she could with her.

Some of the things Greta took have become art like these stitched pieces.

She is a Romanian artist, and she calls these boro-like textile pieces, maps to her memory.
The fragile fabric scraps saved by her mother, residual material.

I think it's a whole lot more.
She is still producing work, like other art contemporaries of her vintage - Yoko Ono
 and Yayoi Kasuma.

I am inspired by her, and then find myself sticking tiny marks over fabric, never sure
if it's the fabric or the stitched marks that need to come forward...

So I keep stitching, knowing that in the process the piece will tell me what it wants.
Much like writing, sometimes knowing where you're going spoils the destination.

 There are three of these stitched collages on the table, rotating about as if in
conversation. One becomes quiet to allow the others to speak.

What is speaking to you, right now?


  1. I love these pieces. Scraps that tell stories. Worth listening to.

  2. Loving your slow cloth Denise. It must feel good to work with the layers and textures a hand massage. Thanks for the intro to Geta Bratescu.

  3. if you don't know where you're going, does it matter how you get there? [quote from the Cheshire Cat...the Latvian translation of which is inked into my arm].
    the pieces are beautiful. hers AND yours.


    1. cool! I have a batman quote inked into mine…. Well Heath Ledger’s Joker, actually.

  4. Beautiful work, both yours and Greta Bratescu's. I have been working on stitching memories down lest I ever forget important things, its very cathartic! Enjoy the slow stitching and its therapeutic ways.

  5. Love your words and your stitches Denise......
    Would love to see how this piece develops.

    Claire Xx

  6. I love stitched scraps....they tell a very private story thats only ever known to the maker....lovely. P

  7. absolutely right - you have to let the piece evolve and tell its story. Forcing it just doesn't work.

    Love the memory maps - I'm writing about cloth and other artefacts as holders of memory and emotion.

  8. I live with an 'under control' hoarder and I'm convinced it is partly a response to trauma. Creating art to express some of that has got to be a good thing right? There's something very touching about those scraps of fabric.

    1. Yep, I am convinced that it’s trauma related too. Both Mum and her sister still hoard food as well. after nearly starving after the fall of Berlin...

  9. maps to memory .. fabulous symbolism .. I love how Greta's creations are worn and ragged .. like life .. but perfectly pieced. Your work is beautiful .. I like how the stitching has bonded it all together ... wonderful texture .. perhaps it is the color hues or the delicate stitching but I imagine them speaking in hushed tones ...lovely

  10. What a beautiful piece of writing, as well as stitching!
    That is exactly what it is like when you make a mixed media or fabric piece!

  11. a few scraps of fabric and survival. i can't even imagine the heartbreak, because even the thought causes sadness. makes me think how blessed i am. grrl, i love your art. it speaks so well to me.

  12. For me, this kind of stitching is a healing metaphor: When our life is shattered, we carry the fragments with us, bury them somewhere deep, and eventually start pulling them out and putting them together again.... xxx

  13. I'm being yakked at by 5 concurrent assemblages ... one is particularly noisy Our Lady of Sorrow. I'm frantically putting her parts together just so she'll shut up! I'm so inspired by these cloth collages. my fingers itch. my brain however seems to be more enamored of paint and wire and wood and metal. I assume this too shall pass. xo

  14. I just popped by to say that I think your blog is gorgeous!! I am your newest follower :)

  15. beautiful - such delicate stitches on your pieces that feel like they are comfortably and gently holding the fabric together. Looking at your work I feel a sense of calm. I like what Felicity wrote in the comments above: that fabric can be a holder of memory and emotion - I have been studying that idea lately - how our art can be infused with our emotions.

  16. these are so beautiful and FULL. Perfect story holders.

  17. This is such a beautiful story Denise. And your stitching is wonderful!

  18. I can certainly see the parallel between pieced stitching and maps, which have always reminded me me of each other. Greta's work is wonderful, as is yours. I've taken to working on more than piece at a time, myself, and find that's it's opening up all sorts of new possibilities...

  19. I love all those stitched stories. Every little scrap tells its own story - so we could call those beautiful pieces "Novels of Cloth"
    Best wishes,

  20. These are hauntingly beautiful fabric collages from Geta.
    Vintage cloth has memories that speak to us. I still have scraps of fabric which I made clothing from the original yards of fabric over 40 years ago. I thought I had lost some of my scraps and it was like I had lost part of me...but I found them! I think I will also make some collages with my fabric scraps and either mount them on a canvas or frame them.
    I treasure those scraps as they are part of ME, who I am, who I was. I am so drawn to vintage fabric because of the eras they come from, and the fabric almost seems to have a soul of its own.
    This post is a beautiful ideal to that concept of memories found in the fabric of our past.
    I love the colors of the stitched collages you are creating, the pinks and greens and the lovely very beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Teresa in California

  21. Wonderful! Love the soft look of the iPhone containers and these sweet sewn "quilty" objects. Makes me want to get needle, thread and fabric.

  22. Especially after seeing your pieces and Greta's, I can picture dozens of scraps - or entire garments - I wish I had known to keep. How much greater their meaning when they are all you were able to salvage. I think it is the texture of the stitches that get to me, how we hold pieces of the past together, making into something almost whole. xo

  23. Denise, this is gorgeous material, the actual fabric and the multitudinous meanings, and the stitchery of the writing. Very moving. Thank you for your beautiful work.


Life is short. Speak your mind.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...