aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

A book artist preserves memories for women with Alzheimers

You simply have to click through to this story to read it, because the photos are so beautiful. [Full disclosure: I've added one here, although I probably shouldn't have.] A Portland artist, Shu-Ju Wang, has worked with women to create unique books that capture the memories of women with Alzheimers. “A few years ago, Wang's "American mom," as Wang calls her, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and began a quick decline. And so Wang, a painter, printmaker and book artist, found herself thinking deeply about the nature of memory.

“In 2007, she first addressed the topic through a series of "pillow books." Using Print Gocco, a tabletop printing system, Wang printed images on tulle and then attached them to pillow shapes, evoking the "connection between sleep and the formation of memories." The tulle images were nearly impossible to see by themselves, but the more layers you added, the more certain they became. Images appeared, and just as easily disappeared.”

My dad, Hank Henry, died from Alzheimers five years ago. Sometimes I fear that the same fate lies in store for me. He was always a big reader. Toward the end he would sit with a magazine on his lap and turn the pages, but he seemed to be just going through the motions, not really reading. He forgot what book I was working on, but for a long time he knew he was safe to ask about “the book.” Not long before he died, he didn’t even know my name. I remember his look of embarrassment when the nurse asked him who I was.

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