What happens with the clothing of the dead?
Is it treasured, or discarded?
Is it kept purposefully untouched, or worn and washed repeatedly?
Do we leave it folded in a dark closet or drawer in some quiet obscure room?
Or do we wear it daily, secretly, as a silent reminder?
Is it held onto lovingly as a precious keep sake taken out on special occasions?
Is it given to those we love, or is it thrown away?
Does it occupy a space in our memory?
Whatever choices are made, one thing remains the same:
The clothing of a deceased loved one,
is no longer just a regular piece of clothing.
Recounting both the presence and absence of its wearer, the clothing of the dead is a powerful conduit of memories. Yet, more often than not, it is kept private and silent, like many stories about death and the dead.
There are few safe spaces in the modern world, outside the confines of a therapist’s office or a bereavement support group, where it is okay to tell and re-tell stories about those who we have loved and who have died.
Collecting Loss: Weaving Threads of Memory was born out of the desire to acknowledge the life-changing impact of the death of a loved one, the importance of telling stories and remembering the dead, and the necessity for grief to be a communal experience.
Collecting Loss is a unique community arts project that creates something new within the existing social fabric of death and bereavement, by using clothing belonging to people who died, and the stories that this clothing evoked for their loved ones. This clothing and these stories were subsequently transformed into a multimedia textile and story-telling exhibit, which this website documents.