August 2014

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24 BRAVA MAGAZINE | AUGUST 2014 LESLEE NELSON STITCHES IN TIME ŀ EREmSˬDISTINCTPOWERINTHEˬCTOF sewing or knitting out your feelings. Do-it-yourselfers have dubbed the ex- perience "Stitch 'n Bitch"—derogatory or a feminist reclamation, depending on your perspective. Leslee Nelson, UW Madison professor emeritus, uses this traditional feminine method of coping and being productive as a personal yet universal art form. Nel- son's "memory cloths" are an acclaimed series of artwork featuring thoughts and memories embroidered on fabrics passed down from her grandmother and mother. Originally, memory cloths were used by South African women to speak their truth about apartheid. For Nelson, tea towels and handkerchiefs once used to absorb spills now soak up the powerful emotions and complex memories of Nelson's life as a daughter, wife, mother and artist. If you have a mother or a daughter you may appreciate the truths Nelson's favor- ite memory cloth speaks, in four simply stitched sentences: "I love you. I forgive YOUŀ ˬNKYOU*ˬMSORRYo–Karin Wolf PHOTOS BY DAWN SABIN THRIVE PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST Make memory cloths with Nelson and other artists Wednesdays, 1:30-3 p.m. at Lakeside St. Coff ee House. makingmemorycloths.

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