art is knowing ~ art is healing ~ art is playful FUN!

Rosann Whale

The Making of a Memory Collage

Hair items for collage

There was little time for tears or grieving after I received the early morning call that Mother had quietly passed away. Flights were booked, workshops cancelled, and the ensuing week became a blur of arrangements and things to do.

Mother would have been 99 years old. As a way to commemorate her birthday (and help with my own grieving process), I planned on creating a memory collage – actually, taking apart and re-doing one I’d made for her almost 30 years ago with new items added to it. There were some anxious moments as well when I realized I’d been a little too glue-happy at the time, but thankfully everything came apart without any noticeable damage.

I opted to use a piece of hemp cloth brought from Hungary in the 1940’s. Mother told stories of how her mother and grandmother would turn raw hemp into cloth to be used for bedding, towels, clothing, etc. Though I hesitated cutting the hemp, it is fitting I think, since it came from her place of birth.

A sample of Hungarian Matyo embroidery and one of the many crochet doilies that Mother made will also be included. When she wasn’t in her garden or cooking up some delicious meal, you could always find her with crochet or knitting needles in hand. 

Mended WorkbookI’ll also add what she referred to as her workbook – equivalent to our resumes – that one carried from job to job, and employers would add their comments as to what you did and the kind of employee you were. Unfortunately, I can’t read, write or speak Hungarian, but I’m sure every page says, “Excellent work!” All pages were photographed; once the book is attached and behind glass, the pages won’t be accessible. They’re so fragile now; I had to work carefully so as not to have the book fall apart on me. As you can see, stitches had already been added in years past to hold it together.

Other items will be a photo taken when she was 14/15 years old, her braid of hair, cut 50+ years earlier, the white rose from her casket spray, and the memorial card. All of this carefully arranged in a 9 x 20 shadow box frame.

Each piece tells a story…a life lived fully and fully lived.

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