I can sort of relate to Linus van Pelt, of Peanuts fame. I have a favorite blanket, too. It was never a security blanket of the type that is carried around and a meltdown ensues when it is forgotten, lost or laundered. But rather, I have a blanket ( quilt, actually ) given to me by my grandmother that is a repository of memories and is one of my prized possessions. I imagine Los Angeles artist Erin Payne understands emotional connections to a cherished textile.
In her Piles series, Payne sets up still lifes constructed of heaps of blankets, sheets, tablecloths and other household fabrics set against landscaped dioramic backgrounds, forever memorializing these stacks on canvas. Just as I find comfort in the warmth of my grandmother’s quilt, both physically and emotionally, so do many once ordinary items become cherished vessels of remembrance.
But what happens when the person most connected to those memories is gone? The beloved item may be forgotten, thrown out or given away, becoming a hollow receptacle, now ready to be imprinted upon by a new owner.
Will their new keeper appreciate the past life of an object that may be a bit worn? Will they even give thought to whose history this article has been a part of?
I hope my grandmother’s blanket will be with me, reminding me of sniffles comforted and snuggles under a reading lamp. But even if it somehow finds its way out of my grasp, I hope the love that it carries radiates from its worn threads. To see more of Erin Payne’s work, please visit her website.
Featured image is Pile 4, acrylic on canvas, 24×24. All images are via the artist’s website.