stitching in semiotics

I wonder how meaning is created, not what it is. Symbolism, connotation, iconography, denotation, synecdoche: Memory.


(Sketch of normal neuron from 2011)

A long time ago, i worked a series i called the Artist’s Body. Bones, hearts and brains fascinated, still do fascinate me. How do all these things come together to make a living, breathing entity? Now i’m focusing on one of the more “ephemeral”, unquantifiable aspects of the brain, memory.

Not all of us will fall prey to Alzheimer’s, though most of us as we age, start having faulty memories, the connections becoming disparate, as time and self dissociate. And when you really think about it, all of life is memory, except for the moment of NOW, that changing moment of awareness as we live it, and instantly it becomes the past, another memory.


Memory is time as illustration also. (Even as i write this, i have to refer to my trusty Stitch Journal, for dates…) On the 22nd, i spent 5 hours laying this out and hand stitching.

neurons-jan-22Yesterday, another 5.25 hours:

neurons-jan-23I’m almost where i can start adding the indigo underneath certain pieces.

And can something so drifting and fleeting be so tangible to, and in, physical touch? Palpable, stirring, substantial, as i run my fingers over this.


6 responses to “stitching in semiotics

    • Thank you, Margaret. Though this horrendous disease has not been part of my family’s medical history, i worry about it for myself, praying that any symptoms are merely tiredness, stress or too *much* thinking.


  1. memory & memories, Old Man Crow has this theory that each time an event from the past is retold, there is a tendency to remember the last telling of the story rather than the actual event and so it becomes embroidered & enriched over time the more often the story is retold, have you read A Map of Glass by the Canadian writer Jane Urquhart? brilliant book about art and memory.
    A few years ago Maria Popova of Brain Pickings wrote about mind, memory and creativity she quotes from “Notebooks of the Mind: Explorations of Thinking” by Vera John-Steiner ;
    “… the English poet Stephen Spender, who captured this beautifully: “Memory is not exactly memory. It is more like a prong, upon which a calendar of similar experiences happening throughout the years, collect. A memory once clearly stated ceases to be a memory, it becomes perpetually present, because every time we experience something which recalls it, the clear and lucid original experience imposes its formal beauty on the new experiences. It is thus no longer memory but an experience lived through again and again.”
    here’s the link

    Liked by 1 person

    • YEs! And “remembering” someone *else’s* memories–i have vivid recollections of something that happened to my Mother– because she told it so well, i thought it was one of my own, until she heard me relating it and asked how i could possibly remember something that happened before ii was born!

      I have on order through the Alberta Interlibrary loan, a book entitled ” The Memory of Bones: Body, Being, and Experience among the Classic
      Maya” by Stephen D Houston–not sure yet if it will pertain to what i am doing, but as Momma says, “learn something new everyday and you know you’re not dead” :


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