Collected Memories Project

Here’s a little bit about the  project and the Re-Tellings exhibition
Memory: collected and collection

For this project I invited members of the public to take part by sharing their ‘memories of themselves and their relationships’ in the form of anecdotes, sounds and images. I have now collected memories from participants all over the world and have a huge variety of stories to tell.

Re-Tellings is a solo exhibition by Grimsby based artist Sue Stone whose work is inspired by people, place and time. Hand embroidery plays a big part in Sue’s work sometimes mixed with machine stitch and/or paint and there are also some digital prints and new iPad drawings.

The pieces in this exhibition are part of an ongoing series of narratives inspired by memories; both the artist’s own and those of others. Members of the public were invited to take part by sharing memories of themselves and their relationships in the form of anecdotes, and images and Sue has now collected stories from all over the world. 

The common link in this particular selection of work is that of family and friendship. Many of the stories focus on relationships between family members; the bonds between siblings and cousins, mothers and daughters, grandparents and grandchildren. But there are also tales of imagined journeys and that illusive dream of a Desert Island.  

I am planning to create a digital archive of the re-tellings of other people’s ‘memories of self and relationships’ during 2020.

Beryl's Gran & Friends
Beryl’s Gran and her Friends 2018 Study for Collected Memories Hand/machine stitch with paint.

A Memory from Beryl Gwinnett
I was born in the 1950s and I have happy memories of my Gran who lived in a ‘2 up 2 down’ back to back street in Liverpool. I have a black and white photo of her with some other ladies in the street – they are poor but are so happy. I remember that everyone knew everyone else and helped each other out despite having little materials . The ‘good old days?’ I moved on and ‘up’ but have
only rarely experienced the security and friendship that I know my Gran and her friends had.

Randi and mr Bunny
Randi and Mr Bunny 2018 for Collected memories Hand/machine stitch with appliqué .

A Memory from Randi Winters
I was 5 years old in 1960 and had just had surgery on my eye for a cyst. I took Mr. Bunny to keep me company in hospital. When they took me for surgery I had to leave my bunny behind and on my return my bunny was nowhere to be found. I cried and cried.
My mother searched until she found my bunny. He was in the hospital laundry basket and in a terrible state! The next day they called my Grandma who was an excellent seamstress and she said she would make Mr. Bunny as good as new. I watched in horror as she took her scissors and started ripping the bunny apart.
I yelled out, “Stop! You are killing my bunny!”  Grandma explained she was making him brand new pyjamas to wear while he stayed in the hospital with me and soon he was an all new Mr. Bunny. We were both on the “mend” and would be going home soon from the hospital.
It meant a lot to me that my Grandma took the time to mend Mr. Bunny.  Nowadays mending and fixing things seem to be a lost art. I think that taking time to mend something precious is important and helps to preserve the special character that only time and wear can give.

6 Girls
Study for 6 Little Girls 2018 for Collected Memories machine/hand stitch, ink pencils and paint.

A Memory from Tilleke Schwarz
My mother’s family had a clothes store. So she never made anything herself and but felt obliged to buy everything at our family store. Close to our house lived a family with six daughters. On Sunday all girls wore the same hand knitted dresses. All dresses were a strange magenta colour (reminiscent of cooked red cabbage). Every year the dresses needed to be adjusted. The whole family worked very hard to unravel, wash and stretch the yarn in order to reknit the dresses. I was very happy that my mother never knitted dresses.

Dora and Carmel
Carmel and Dora 2018 for Collected Memories Hand/machine stitch with paint.

A Memory from Ina Olohan
I live in Kells, Co. Meath Ireland and my mother Dora Daly, trained as a nurse in Grimsby, along with her sisters Carmel and Betty. Dora and Carmel returned to Ireland, and Betty married and had 3 children in the UK.
I recently found a tiny notebook belonging to my grandmother in which she kept lots of details of bills paid and family comings and goings.
She wrote the following in 1938:
“Dora started for Grimsby 11 May, on duty 13th. Had P.C. (postcard) from Carmel 14th saying Dora arrived safely”
My aunt Carmel had already been in Grimsby for a year.
A later entry reads:
“Got word C. passed exam S.R.N. Dec 7th – 1940
Dora passed exam S.R.N. Got word 1st Dec 1941″
My mother had very happy memories of living in the nursing home at Grimsby. She told us how, during the war when there was rationing in England, her mother would send over rashers of bacon and they would cook these on a mentholated spirit stove in the bedroom. The spell of frying bacon would waft through the nursing home.

1 thought on “Collected Memories Project

  1. Rita Johnson

    These are beautiful and touching memories, and you have created something very moving from their stories. Thank you.


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