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Memoriam

Quilt
2002 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

'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.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Quilted plastic and steel wire wool
Brief Description
'Memoriam', transparent plastic and steel wire wool quilt designed and made by Michele Walker, British, 2002
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.
Dimensions
  • Width: 250cm
  • Depth: 140cm
  • Weight: 4kg
  • Top edge width: 1090mm
  • Bottom edge width: 1220mm
  • Proper right length: 2320mm
  • Proper left length: 2270mm
  • Weighed on roller weight: 10.5kg
Weight excluding roller
Gallery Label
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)
Summary
'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.
Bibliographic References
  • Sue Prichard (ed.), Quilts, 1700-2010 : hidden histories, untold stories, London: V&A, 201069Sue Prichard, 'Negotiating space: fabric and the feminine 1945-2010', in Sue Prichard (ed.), Quilts 1700-2010 (London: V&A, 2010) p.142
  • Sue Prichard, 'Keepsakes of identity - Michele Walker: Memoriam' V&A Online Journal 1 (Autumn 2008)
Collection
Accession Number
T.6:1-2009

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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