Front partial play.
My Quilt Memory Game, 2007-2008.
Made for 2008 show at Revolving Museum, Lowell, MA.
Toys and Games.
Concept: Here is the background of the Memory Card Game and my thoughts on it before describing my game quilt.
In the card game, the cards are laid out on a table, and the player turns two over at a time, tries to remember what the images are, and then turns them back. The player then proceeds to turn two more, and when an image comes up that has been seen already, the player tries to remember where the first one was and turn that card over to reveal a matching pair. The matching pair is left exposed, and the player continues until all pairs are found. This game can be played as solitaire, or with a group of players, in which case the winner is determined by the number of pairs found.
As a child, I always loved this type of game that could be played alone or with a challenger. Coming from a large family, it was great to play multiplayer games, but also nice to have the option of challenging yourself and going at a different pace. I have often thought about the different dynamics of such games when I was growing up. We were a big game-playing family. When with a group, for example, the game is loud, lots of talking, sometimes arguing, is someone cheating?; as opposed to the solitaire version, where it is quiet, just you and the cards, you can take as long as you want, you can think to come up with methods of remembering for yourself, which in turn may be applied in other parts of life.
The results are then twofold. 1. Playing with a group teaches social skills, quick thinking, observation during other players' turns, to remember their moves and work out your own strategy, and having patience while waiting for someone else to work out their own approach. 2. Playing solitaire requires personal problem solving, relying just on yourself to get the job done, and may provide more actual satisfaction upon finishing the game, feelings of accomplishment.
There has always been something magnetic to me about playing the memory game. I remember playing it often when I was young, alone and with my youngest sister. It was always fun, easy to set up, and different each time. It was somehow always a comforting game as well, because defeat wasn’t really serious, it was about learning and exercising your mind, and eventually you would finish, and it became easier and faster as you got closer to the end. I also enjoyed the simple hand action of turning the cards over and over. A different rhythm was created each time the game was played, and it was enjoyable.
Quilt description: Memory game; Actual personal memories as game pieces.
When coming up with my quilt memory game, I wanted to create something that in addition to being a playable version of the game, would also capture nostalgic moments, actual memories, and past dreams of things that could one day become possible.
The background quilt that will hold the pieces is solid navy blue, about six and 1/2 feet square. The round pillow game pieces are tied to the quilt and secured on the back with vintage buttons. These game pieces are double-sided: one side is image, the other side the same solid navy blue as the quilt. Each piece hangs on the front of the quilt from a three inch long string, and can easily be turned back and forth without coming off.
The personal content of these game pieces will be represented with cloth imagery, prints, manipulation, embroidery, photo transfer, stamps, and any other method that can be done with cloth. These items are the “cards”. There will be two of each image, totaling 50 pairs, or 100 pieces. They are shaped like round pillows, about six inches in diameter, each backed in the same solid color blue as the background quilt they will be tied to. They are lightly stuffed with fill and five marbles each for weight to remain in place when turned.
The quilt for me as a whole, in its beginning state of solid blue background and solid blue pieces not yet revealed, is like when you close your eyes to think or remember something. It is dark at first, then your thoughts, memories, and dreams come forward. The round game pieces for me are my eyes, with what they see revealed on the image side; pairs for two eyes. I believe this work will connect with the public for it’s tactile nature, everyone’s familiarity with cloth and quilts in general, and the wide variety of imagery that will have something for adults and children alike, not to mention the fun of the game itself.
The quilt will attract an audience by its invitation to be touched in playing the game, curiosity as to what all the images are when turned over, and will hopefully be intrigued by the different compositions that are formed just by playing the game, as each pair is revealed. The beauty of the memory game itself is that the mind is exercised in trying to remember the pieces while playing the game, but doesn’t feel like work. Kids can have fun with a parent by having the parent turn the pieces over on the top half, and the kids turn the ones on the bottom. The overall size six and a 1/2 feet is within the reaching span of most older kids and adults.