When she passed away, her collage cutouts filled her kitchen table and her kitchen chairs had albums piled high. I took a photo of her work space before I took her clippings and put them in an envelope. I couldn't quite bring myself to throw out this last vestige of my mother.
We were delighted that she had found this pursuit, grateful that she had found an engrossing activity. I had another feeling, pride. So many people dismiss someone as they lose memory, their presence diminished in the eyes of the world. My mom did some beautiful creative work and it reminded me that the same person was still in there. I had admired her in all the different stages of her life and that continued into this final stage, creative and purposeful to the end.
After her death, as we divvied up the accumulation of a lifetime, I took the 21 albums. Now they occupy a box in my studio and we have considered framing some of her work to exhibit in conjunction with work I am doing on memory. I also have begun to use them for inspiration as I work on a series called Through Her Eyes. I am always motivated by the idea of a series with a theme and it occurred to me that I had some great source material. I'm not sure if it is a series yet as I only have two done, but I have so often felt as if I were seeing the world through her eyes, that I may well continue in this vein.
You can find more on how my mother's collages developed at Always an Artist. It is an interesting exploration about how creativity remains even when memory flees.