Emotions are hugely significant in the laying down of memory… there is no one emotional system in the brain but a series of systems which give rise to different kinds of emotions. (LeDoux, 1998)
I am a studio textiles designer, my practice investigates the way emotion can be used to elicit memory. Observing whether sensory stimulation and social connections, using textiles as a stimulus, can prompt and preserve memory.
“Memory is the most transient of all possessions. And when it goes, it leaves as few traces as the stars that have disappeared” (Erica Jong: nd)
I use multi-media textiles processes to represent the transience of memory; as well as observing the role textiles workshops can have in improving the well-being of people living with Dementia. Designs juxtapose handmade and digital processes to symbolise memory; digital files can be ‘saved’ which contrasts with the handmade processes which depict natural ‘decay,’ mirroring degeneration that can occur in the brain with neurological conditions.
Audience experience and interaction is key to my work. Identifying whether social connections through textiles workshops can improve the well-being of people living with Dementia. I have run workshops at ‘Memory Café’s’ with the Alzheimer society and sheltered communities for people living with early, mid and late stage Dementia. Additionally, audience participation studies help to assess whether the textiles samples I create can generate emotional memories.
Ultimately my work explores whether sensory stimulation and social connections can develop through the use of textiles design and workshops.