The Making of a Memory Collage, Part 1

I’m sure that if I checked, nearly all of my posts begin with, “It’s been a long time since my last post…,” followed by an apology, or vice versa. But this time I’m not going to apologize or make excuses for the long absence. It seems to be my pattern, and honouring that ebb and flow is far better than beating myself up about it.

Just days after my last post, I received a call that my mother had quietly passed away. Flights were booked, workshops cancelled, and the ensuing week became a blur of arrangements and things to do. There was little time for tears or grieving.

Mother would have been 99 years old on May 31st. As a way to commemorate her birthday (and my own process), I planned on creating a memory collage – actually, taking apart and re-doing one I’d made for her almost 30 years ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo before dismantling it. There were some anxious moments as well when I realized I’d been a little too glue-happy, but thankfully everything came apart without any noticeable damage.

Hemp background

I opted to use this piece of linen cloth as the background; it was handmade using hemp and brought from Hungary in the 1940’s. Mother told stories of how my Grandmother and Great-grandmother would turn raw hemp into cloth to be used for bedding, towels, clothing, etc. There’s lots of information online about the uses and versatility of hemp. Though I hesitated cutting this piece, it is fitting I think, since it came from her birthplace and may actually have been made by the grandmothers.

I’ll include a sample of Hungarian embroidery and one of the many crochet doilies that Mother made. When she wasn’t in her garden or cooking up some delicious meal, you could always find her with crochet or knitting needles in hand.

Embroid, Workbook

I’ll also add her workbook – equivalent to a resume – but one carried this book from job to job, and employers would add their comments as to what you did and the kind of employee you were. I can’t read Hungarian, but I’m sure they each read, “Excellent work!”

Hair, Pic

Other items will be a photo taken when she was 14/15 years old, her hair braid, cut when she was about 40, the white rose from her casket spray, and the memorial card. All this in a 9 x 20 shadow box frame, which has been ordered and is expected to arrive mid-June.

Each piece tells a story…of struggles and strength, joy and sorrow, tears mixed with laughter …a life lived fully.

4 thoughts on “The Making of a Memory Collage, Part 1

  1. Dara

    What a beautiful project Rosann and I really love the photos of the pieces and materials you’ll be moving. I’m sorry for your loss xo

    1. Rosann Post author

      Thank you, Dara. The sewing is taking longer than expected, but I’m re-discovering how much I enjoy slow stitching (I used to cross-stitch a lot:)

  2. Ginette

    That looks like a lovely project, Rosann! It is a very sweet way to honour your mother and her life. It will be a wonderful keepsake. I look forward to seeing the completed project 🙂

    1. Rosann Post author

      Thanks Ginette! I’m taking my time; many items will be sewed in with invisible thread (as opposed to using glue, which is what I did last time ;). I plan to post updates, which will help keep me on track (I hope – haha!)


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