“Synapse” 20″x30″ hand-painted silk, hand embroidered and beaded.
The challenge was to create an art quilt depicting “connections.”
My response is entitled “Synapse.”
This is a wholecloth quilt. I used Jaquard Green Label silk dyes with the serti resist method to paint this 20″ by 30″ piece of china silk. I machine quilted along the cell walls and dendrites. I embellished by hand with silk floss and glass beads.
The brain has trillions of synapses.
At synapses, neurons release neurotransmitters that are picked up by their neighbors, carrying signals from cell to cell. These signals form memories and thoughts. The long, branchlike projections of brain cells are called axons and dendrites. These projections carry synaptic messages, integrating all the information a cell receives.
Intelligence is dictated by a brain’s underlying organization and molecular activity at its synapses.
Damage to dendrites is associated with depression and despair.
Alzheimer’s disease disrupts both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters between cells.
The Guatemalan legend has it, that these small colorful handmade dolls will take away the worries of the child who places them under her pillow.
I fell in love with these 2 inch tall dolls on a recent trip to Central America, and brought home a couple dozen of them with the intention of challenging my art quilt group, and myself, to use one or two of them in an art quilt.
I wondered, “What do the worry dolls do with the worry they collect? What do they do when they have their own worries?” Maybe only other worry dolls could take all this away. And so I arrived at this infinite cycle — each doll a pillow for the next.
I wanted to present my extension of the myth with the color and style of the cloth that comprised the dolls’ dresses. I had no handwoven Guatemalan cloth (why didn’t I bring some of that home from C.A.?) So I mimicked it with running stitches embroidered with colorful perl cotton on black cotton duck.
“When Dolls Worry”,© Carolyn Zinn 2015. 17″x17″ cotton duck, perl cotton floss, imported dolls.