• Sharon Prigan

Memories and Mementos

Updated: Jun 1, 2019


Memories and Mementos - the difference between them

Found this yesterday while sorting out my pieces of lace. This is what is left of my wedding dress. Thousands of students have learnt to handsew making flowers and yoyos from my wedding dress. The best use for it.


That set me off on a philosophical train of thought. Why do we need to hold onto physical things in order to have a memento. I think it is more a state of mind. If we were to realise that mementos can be memories that we can bring forward and review again and again we would very easily let go of our stuff.

I wrote a post on facebook yesterday about the wedding dress and what I had done with it. All the public responses were very positive and uplifting. I received 2 private messages where I was asked how I could do that. One person asked me how I could cut up such an expensive piece of clothing and another asked me whether it did not upset me that I could not look at the dress anymore.

My answer to the first person was that I had designed and sewed the wedding outfit myself and at the time the fabric and my shoes had cost me the equivalent of 120 shekels which in 1991 was about $60 (I had to google the exchange rate :) so the wedding dress had not been an expensive item.

My response to the second one was that I have photos of the wedding and never saw myself as a person who needed to take the dress out to relive the occassion. It was important for me to do something meaningful with the dress.

I kept it in a box for a while and when I began teaching children how to sew I realised that I could accomplish a twofold purpose, the first and more important one was to teach as many children as possible the long forgotten skills of handsewing and the second purpose was to give the wedding dress a new worthwhile life.

What better way than to let the children use pieces of it to learn how to sew by hand, and make themselves small flowers and yoyos which they would then use to decorate useful products.


I actually had a third purpose in mind, and that was to teach the children not to hold onto stuff that they don't use or need anymore and that it is possible to accomplish something positive and useful when you mindfully let go.

For the children, it takes the form of a challenge, searching for creative ways to reuse their things or to give them away thoughtfully rather than just throwing them away.

We have had many brainstorming sessions where the children are challenged by me to come up with ideas of what to do with all their "stuff" that they don't use anymore. They are quite surprising in their creativity.

Their old school shirts can be used to create other things. T shirt yarn, shopping bags, jewelry, rugs and patchwork blankets were just some of their ideas. The shirts that they wanted to donate, they decorated first as they said that people in need of charity, should not be given stained and torn clothing, so they made them into "designer shirts" and then donated them.



Each time I work with them on a different item and they come up with quite original ideas. Ways to reuse button down shirts, sheets, towels, jeans, you name it, they have ideas. Of course the internet is full of ideas, but the purpose is to make the children think about what they can do with all this stuff and come up with their own ideas, and it works.

Memory

is the faculty of the brain by which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. Memory is vital to experiences, it is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory

Memento

is a keepsake or souvenir of remembrance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento

#teachingsewing #sewing #mindful

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