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Quilt - Memoriam

Memoriam

  • Object:

    Quilt

  • Place of origin:

    Brighton (made)

  • Date:

    2002 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Walker, Michele, born 1947 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Quilted plastic and steel wire wool

  • Museum number:

    T.6:1-2009

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

'Memoriam' is the last quilt in a body of work which draws inspiration from the patterns and ethos of traditional quilt making, and reflects on the terrifying fragmentation of identity that occurs with memory loss. This work was a response to the artist's mother's suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The knotted border evokes the gesture of twisting hair while lost in thought. Instead of cotton or wool, 'Memoriam' is wadded with wire, deliberately undermining the quilt's traditional associations with safety and comfort.

In the study for 'Memoriam', Walker included a screen printed imate of her mother's wedding veil, looped and stitched to reference the universal remembrance ribbons which started with AIDS awareness. Juxtaposed with 'Memoriam', the study is a poignant reminder of both the hopes and fears of a young bride at the start of her married life.

Michele Walker creates multi-layered quilts that unite personal testimony with social commentary. She was one of a small group of contemporary artists who helped to revive an interest in British quilt making in the 1970s and 1980s. Her interest in the tradition includes not only techniques, but also a fascination with the often unknown women who produced quilts; objects which are on the whole unsigned, undated and undocumented, but often retain within them a fading collective or personal memory.

Physical description

Quilt of steel wire wool and transparent plastic. Pieced in a 'crazy' pattern, in which irregularly shaped pieces of plastic are randomly stitched together. The patchwork is additionally stitched with an imprint of the artist's skin and wadded with cotton. The quilt is backed with cotton and embrellished with twisted steel wire wool fringing.

Place of Origin

Brighton (made)

Date

2002 (made)

Artist/maker

Walker, Michele, born 1947 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Quilted plastic and steel wire wool

Dimensions

Width: 250 cm, Depth: 140 cm, Weight: 4 kg, Width: 1090 mm Top edge, Width: 1220 mm Bottom edge, Length: 2320 mm Proper right, Length: 2270 mm Proper left, Weight: 10.5 kg Weighed on roller

Descriptive line

'Memoriam', transparent plastic and steel wire wool quilt designed and made by Michele Walker, British, 2002

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Sue Prichard, 'Negotiating space: fabric and the feminine 1945-2010', in Sue Prichard (ed.), Quilts 1700-2010 (London: V&A, 2010) p.142
69
Sue Prichard (ed.), Quilts, 1700-2010 : hidden histories, untold stories, London: V&A, 2010
Sue Prichard, 'Keepsakes of identity - Michele Walker: Memoriam' V&A Online Journal 1 (Autumn 2008)

Labels and date

Memoriam
Michele Walker (born 1947), Brighton
2002

Walker reflects on the terrifying fragmentation of personal identity that occurs with memory loss. This work was a response to her mother's suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The knotted border evokes the gesture of twisting hair, while the plastic - in a pattern based on the artist's own skin - is pieced using the traditional 'crazy' patchwork design. Instead of cotton or wool, Memoriam is wadded with wire, deliberately undermining the quilt's traditional associations with safety and comfort.

Plastic and steel

V&A: T.6:1, 2-2009 [20th March 2010]

Materials

Plastic; Steel wool; Cotton

Techniques

Piecing; Quilting

Categories

Textiles

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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