What happens with clothing of the dead?
Is it given or thrown away, washed or kept purposefully untouched?
Is it folded in a drawer, or hung up indefinitely in a dark closet in some quiet obscure room?
Is it worn daily as a silent reminder, or held onto lovingly as a precious keep sake taken out on special occasions?
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 lost.
Collecting Loss: Weaving Threads of Memory was born out of the desire to acknowledge:
- the life-changing impact of the death of loved ones
- the importance of the particular stories that are expressed through clothing of 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.
Collecting Loss: Weaving Threads of Memory is a project that presents some meaningful possibilities of how the dead can be remembered. It invites the living to witness what can happen when memories are given a public place to gather in a living and breathing form.
Speak freely about death, grieving, and what it means to remember together.
Welcome and thank you for accepting this invitation to celebrate life and death through clothing and story.