82 A4 photos machine stitched together. Grey satin binding with cotton threads attached. Quilt is made from old family photos of my mother-in-law in her youth. I found these photos in an old suitcase and I was curious to see the woman I know when she was young. I discussed them with her in the hope she would remember more of her past. Some photos were of interest, but then I realised that her memories of these times have become lost, and she was mixing things together to create new stories. Confabulation is common among people with dementia when a new history is created amid the truth.
These photos are not part of my history, but they are full of familiar faces, of family and friends that were part of a large extended group to be found at gatherings and parties. By printing them onto tracing paper I transformed the texture of the photos. They became translucent, like my mother-in-law’s memory. Coating them in PVA transformed them again, making them brittle and fragile, again like ageing memories.
I stitched them into a quilt as dementia had once been described to me as having a blanket of memories with frayed holes and so I created my own blanket of confabulated memories with holes. Cotton threads hanging from the binding symbolise unravelling and hanging on to memories by a thread.