Check out this post on ARTiculations blog regarding memorial art. The last paragraph in particular is one art quilters should take heed of:
"Memorializing is arguably one of the strongest of human impulses. But the commonality of this impulse sometimes leads to art that is formulaic rather than expressive. Memorial as art should be held to the same rigors and high expectations as any other work. Those events and individuals we remember demand it. "
This is a piece I made 2 years after my husband's death, made from his silk ties and shirt and some leftover silk he bought me in Canada. It was not made for public consumption but as part of my grieving process. It is not great art, and it is a bit formulaic - quite typical of what a quilter would produce. But as the quotation above states, the impulse to memorialize is strong and we turn to what we know best. I have other ideas for quilts about him and what I went through, but they are hopefully a bit more artistic and something I wouldn't mind exhibiting. Something more along the lines of what the ARTiculations blogger is talking about. I am in a different place both in my creative journey and in my grieving process and the resulting quilts should show that.
This sort of work is difficult to face, to begin sometimes. Who in their right mind would purposely do something with such potential to stir up painful emotions safely pushed down and locked up? Yet when the time is right, working through these memories, good and bad, through the medium of fabric is cathartic, satisfying, worth the risk.