Whatever I make and write is usually in some way or another informed by memories.
Memories of a time passed, one I may have not even experienced myself in this life,
but one I have imagined in sepia colors and musky scent.
A never ending story with no beginning nor ending woven together from stories, changing landscapes, threads, births of birds and people, deaths of unborn chicks and grandmothers.
There is a strange desire to inhabit this place made up from memory and to somehow become part of it.
To become a fading color or to catch the tail of an evaporating scent and bottle it.
It is the beauty of a world made from something that cannot be touched,
it is there but it is impossible to organize it and safe keep it from time and decay.
Memory is not solid, it is not material really, it is fleeting like a snowdrift and ever changing.
Memories are shape-shifters, like mushrooms.
And like mushrooms, memories are not individual growths of matter, even though they may appear to be so when seen above the surface.
They are an enormous being connecting countless roots called mycelium, underground.
Hundreds of mushrooms, or memories, are in fact one big creature holding their small hands under the surface, creating one big story together. To disconnect two hands, two chapters, would be a disaster.
In my own way I have always tried to gather and safe keep my own small life in memories.
I keep diaries. I actively remember distant memories in detail to renew them somehow.
A bit like curing meat and fish to keep it from decaying.
I have always been a big appreciator of Victorian Memorial Art, because of the materializing of the memory of a person and the slightly macabre romance in doing this.
Since I started to make dolls, I always tried to incorporate some of that fascination of the small personal memories into my work.
Often a doll will carry something special with them, like a pouch filled with herbs
(I find scent to be one of the most active ingredient engaging the brain to remember something it forgot it even remembered) a piece of post card written by a stranger’s pen in a far away past, an old photograph, a scrap of fabric, worn by someone unknown, mended by stranger’s hands and discarded finally.
A little box filled with grandmother’s old buttons and beads, an engagement ring.
Then I came up with the idea to create Memory Dolls or Memorial Dolls.
These special, custom made dolls would be the keepers of memories and heirlooms of someone dear, made for those eager to remember them.
They would be filled and adorned with the essence of a person in materials, such as a lock of hair, textiles that they used to wear, their handwriting on card or paper, objects with a scent that provokes their memory, bespoke embroidery of names and dates and so on.
I have made such dolls for a few years now and recently added the Memory Dress to this repertoire.
This is a handmade dress the size of a large doll dress, made in very much the same way as the Memory Doll; using materials send in by the client and working with their personal stories and memories in order to create somehow an item of beauty that will aim to safe keep the essence of a person dear; their memory.
To commission me to make you such a Memorial Doll or Memory Dress,
do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This here little dress is my own Memory Dress, called ‘My Memory Dress 1982’
It is made with second hand linen, antique lace, scraps of fabric, and old buttons and beads.
On the top of the dress I incorporated a memory box made of a small matchbox containing a lock of my own hair. It is closed behind a piece of plexiglass.
The sleeves of the dress have my date of birth embroidered on them; 1982
In a little pouch, adorned with three pieces of amethyst, I hid some pieces of frankincense.
Frankincense is one of my favorite smells in the world, reminding me of old churches and sacred things.
The dress hangs from a little coat hanger which I made with wire, paper tape, cloth and string.
I thought about not selling this piece, but decided to do so after all, as I like the idea of this dress traveling somewhere new, to continue the story.
It is available in my shop