Threads: Memory in focus group exhibition

So excited for this! group xhibition invites is here! Opening night on 19th May! 


Subject – PDP

It certainly has been a crazy year. It was challenging, and 100 times harder than second year. I enjoyed second year so much because there were more projects to be explored. I was quite relax entering the first term of my final year. The subject matter I chose was something that I care and passionate about – Alzheimer’s disease/dementia issue. I find myself interested in social and cultural issues that inspire me in giving response that balances content and creativity. At first I was not sure about choosing dementia/Alzheimer’s as my subject matter because I have a personal experience where my late father passed away because of it and it is a sensitive subject. But after few tutorials, I decided that because it has a personal connection therefore it will give more weight to the content.

I started the year through in-depth research i.e. going to dementia related seminar, consultations with a Neuroscientist from Bristol University and also by becoming a Dementia Friends, as well as experimenting with thread and textile to explore the  brain parts that could be damaged by Alzheimer’s disease. During the process I realised that thread means so much more than just something that connects objects but also a tool to mend and reconnect. The main process I applied within the whole project is by using soluble fabric that dissolve when washed in water. This process represents the loss of memory, personality, independence and life taken by the disease but also represents a moment of holding the time and memories that slowly disappearing.

I played around with several ideas for the outcome for my project and I feel that I need to express the loss endured everyday by patients of dementia through a multi-sensory installation that explore a bodily- experience (visions and sound). I also think that I need to communicate information about what is Alzheimer’s disease in a form of a book that feature colourful images so that it would attract public to read and understand. I aim to change the old-perception that Alzheimer’s is an age-related illness.

I also find the professional practice workshops (self-promotion) for preparing ourselves to face the real world once we finish the degree is very valuable to me. I need to build my confidence up and make more works so that I can build my professional portfolio. Including myself in group exhibition also helps me in building network and seeing what is the art world reality is. It is also a way of promoting my work and practice as an illustrator with principles. I understand that as an illustrator I want to put myself as a facilitator to communicate social & cultural issue that need to change, challenge the authority that put public’s needs behind them by being part of the change.

I’m definitely going to miss my final year. It has thought me so much about myself and things that I really care about. Things that I need to improve and even tho I has been a long journey, I have certainly grow a lot as an illustrator. I’m looking forward to my gap year and enjoy myself before planning for the future with master degree study.


Prep for Summer Show 16

I started the prep for my exhibition by making model of the room and breakfast table for the multi-sensory installation. I could not find a perfect breakfast table model so I bought the dining set. Bellow is my model:

model for breakfast table room

After a long search at few charity shops for the right furniture and online, finally I found cheap sale from Cardiff and Neath. 

table & chairs painted ready for show

I will also need a specific shape of plinth for my textile/stitch book. 

plinth design for stitch book

Visual song activity

I always remember the fun memory I had with my late father and my sisters on weekend where we would play records and sing along to it. He loved Engelbert Humperdinck’s songs. He had all of his records and used to perform his songs on stage every year at independence day celebration. Several years after he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he began to forget the lyrics of his fav songs. We used to belt out the ref to Please release me and Quando, Quando, Quando. Although he can’t remember the lyrics no more he was still able to recognise the rhythm of those songs and then played them on repeat.

That memory inspired me to come up with an activity that aims to encourage conversation between Azlheimer’s patients with their carers through listening to music and embroidery. Research shown that music can boost our brain activity that is linked to memory, cognition and problem solving. The embroidery work will take form as an abstract art that is generated from music visualisation apps.


Quando, Quando, Quando, E. Humperdinck – song visualisation © Ayu Baker, 2016. Thread & Textile.

How it work:

  • the activity will involve stitching which kit I will provide at the exhibition. The kit includes embroidery hoop and fabric, thread and needle, and instruction sheet.
  • Before starting the embroidery work, carer would have to download music visualisation app into their smartphones, laptop or tablet from online app store. The apps that are free to download are iTunes, Audiogasm, Gravitarium or Svarm and Wizzj.
  • Once the apps is downloaded, carer can play patients’ fav song on it and then take a screenshot of the abstract art. Sample:

Quando quando quando song visualisation from iTunes app. image by me

  • Carers then can start the embroidery work while listening to the song with the patients and have conversation down the memory lane. Sample is on the 1st above image.


So for the exhibition I have prepare 20 embroidery kits that I will give out to people who are interested and is a carer to Alzheimer’s patients, and if I still have spare I would introduce and give them to nursing home or Azheimer’s Society Cardiff.

Visual song goodie bag prep. © Ayu Baker 2016.


music embroidery instruction copy

embroidery kit instruction © Ayu Baker 2016.


a few of the embroidery kits 


St Fagan’s workshop

On 25th May, 2015 few illustrators and I participated in a join collaboration workshop with Ceramics course at St Fagan’s Museum. The workshop is intended to create vessel which clay came from the earth beneath St Fagan’s. The event is also to celebrate National Museum day on 27th May. A group of illustrators are there to help with walk and draw. We assisted participants to draw objects in and around the cottages and garden that have historical values. The drawing then is used as a ideas to inspire them in making the vessel.

The workshop gave me experiences in ‘teaching’. I’m interested in studying art therapy for my master so I’ve always wanted to know how it feel to teach or assist people in learning to draw. It was also fun to watch the excitement from participants when they investigated and explored objects for their inspirations.

Participatory arts from Dr. Natasha Mayo on Vimeo.


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Dyffryn House project

I had the opportunity to participate in a Story room project by Dyffryn House and Garden in Cardiff. Story room project is to feature the story of Cory family who owned the house before National Trust took it over. My project is focusing on Florence Cory story. She is well-known for her philanthropy works and musical talent as well as having a high-end fashion sense. Newspaper articles issued in Georgian era about social events that she attended gave me ideas to create a drawing-stitch mix media piece. The piece was exhibited from 23rd March for a month.

As requested by Dyffryn House, this piece is going to be exhibited in Florence Cory’s room permanently.

© Ayu Baker, 2015. Dyffryn house exhibition. Florence Cory.

© Ayu Baker, 2015. Dyffryn house exhibition. Florence Cory.

© Ayu Baker, 2015. Dyffryn house exhibition. Florence Cory.

© Ayu Baker, 2015. Dyffryn house exhibition. Florence Cory.

© Ayu Baker, 2015. Dyffryn house exhibition. Florence Cory.

© Ayu Baker, 2015. Dyffryn house exhibition. Florence Cory.