Saturday, May 6, 2017

To Tell a Story with Cloth: Connections, Impressions, and Memories: Mapping Memories (and More)

Ann Z.: Memories of a semester abroad in Spain and a trip to Cuevo de Altamira. Ann stitched and painted on an actual map that she saved from that time.

This is the second blog post about my five-session class, To Tell a Story with Cloth: Connections, Impressions, and Memories. The theme for week two was Mapping Memories. Students were asked to create a "map" of a memory or memories. We started the class with a journaling exercise...creating a Mind Map (web) of a memory. From there, students had a choice of mapping themes...including.. a Journey/Travel Map, a Treasures Map (Where to find...), a Neighborhood Map, or a Senses/Impressions Map. We covered texture printing techniques including printing directly with textures, creating hot glue, cardboard, adhesive-backed foam and moldable foam texture blocks. We also covered applique and reverse applique techniques and building applique bases using patchwork, collage and weaving.
A lot to pack into five hours!

Here are some of the fabrics created in class...

Alice A.: Fabrics printed with an assortment of blocks: Adhesive-backed foam, moldable foam and cardboard.
Barbara C.: Brick textures on sheer fabrics.
Jan B. printing.
Jan B.: texture prints over her resist and painted fabric.
Judith K.-P.: Printing over resist and painted fabric.
Judy M.: Rubbings using blocks made with thumbtacks and hot glue.
Karol L.: Moldable foam block prints.
T.T.: Assorted block prints including hot glue, adhesive-backed foam, string on cardboard, moldable foam.
Here are some different "takes" on mapping by some of the students. Other students are continuing work on their pieces and I will be posting more about them when they are complete.

Jan B.: Jan was the director of a multi-acre organic farm. After a particularly stressful day, she stepped outside to regroup...she was awed by the beauty of the farm.
Jan B.: An aerial view of the farm and the river running through it.
Judith K.-P.: Judith's Impression Map of Japan (in process). It includes temple arches, hanging prayers and geishas.
Judith K.-P.: Detail.
In addition, some students continued with the Color Connection exercises...

Ann Z.: Color Association exercise.
Ann Z.: Color of Emotions.
Alice A. : Color of Emotions
Alice A.: Color play using reverse applique and pleating techniques.
Alice A.: Color Memory: Alice spent her childhood in Mexico. She has very strong memories of walking through the marketplace. These are the colors she remembers...along with the billowing tent-like fabrics.
Ann Z.: Color Memory: Ann spent time living in Honduras. These are the colors that remind her of that place. She found it interesting that they were some of the same colors she picked for her first color association exercise (see above).

Judy M. created this cathartic piece ...that truly is a healing cloth...expressing her anger and sadness about the recent death of a close friend and the tenth anniversary of her husband's death.

Judy M.

We are having so many fascinating discussions in class. I am learning so much. That is teaching at its best...when you are learning along with teaching!

The next Story Cloth installment will feature Significant Object Portraits. Stay tuned!

If you are interested in taking this class and live in the Washington, D.C. area...I will be teaching an evening version in the fall. Dates TBA.


  1. Julie! This class sounds like another one I must sign up for. With all the material I have that my Mom used to make clothes for me, when I was younger, these processes would be very helpful to get my brain wrapped around memories about her incorporated into what I will be making with it.

    1. Hi Jodie- Would love to have you in another class!!! I will be teaching an evening version of it in the fall and a daytime version in spring 2018.

  2. I've been tossing around map memory making for some time and you and your students have truly inspired me...carry on!

    1. Thanks Mary Ann...they are really inspiring me. I'll miss this class when it's over. Looking forward to seeing your memory maps!