Memory Triggers One


    © 2017
  • Dimensions (in inches): 4.25 x 5.25 x 1.65
  • Materials:book board, leather, tyvek, mica, laser toner, various papers, artifacts, thread, PVA, domestic and wild bird feathers, wild bird bones and talons
  • Collection of:University of Denver, Penrose Library Special Collections


The souvenirs of place that I tend to keep not only connect very specifically to a moment of time, but also to a particular geography. Memory Triggers One presents six such souvenirs, each a specimen from the natural world kept for many decades, that triggers a memory. The book structure is a hybrid of various approaches in a manner most similar to children's board books. The thick, rigid pages allow for the encapsulation of the various specimens in round, window cut-outs faced with protective mica. The text is laser printed on recto pages opposite the verso presentation of the specimen. The window cut outs allow a specimen to be viewed on a spread that includes only the physical location of the specimen's origin; once the page holding the specimen is turned, the narrative text linking object to place to memory is revealed.
East Village, New York, New York I once offered to bird sit a ring necked parakeet while thee owners were away. During my bird care training, the bird grabbed the web of skin between my index finger and thumb with his beak and wouldn’t let go. The pain was intense but I didn’t flinch. The bird shed feathers; my wound bled and healed. We got along well after that. The Knob, Falmouth, Massachusetts I was on a beach with a friend and her daughter. We found some pelican remains on the beach; long dead, picked clean. We picked them up, brushed off the sand, and carried them back to the car. The man who was waiting to pick us up, was furious that his daughter had touched something dead. Ocean Wave Drive, Lake City, Colorado I rented a room in an old house and used it for a studio. The owners of the house noticed my fascination with mummified cats and rats. Years later, they tore a wall of the house down and found several small mummified birds trapped between the outer and interior walls. They gifted me these small birds, tiny bodies shriveled and dry; dusty feathers still intact. Joy Street, Red Oak, Iowa My maternal grandmother terrified me. She had dead creatures that looked like weasels draped around her neck and wore funny little hats with shiny black feathers held in place with netting. I later learned that these accessories were the fashions of the time. Block 16, Capital City, Colorado I had a cat that was a great hunter. She left me bird feet from her morning rambles nearly every day. A friend told me that cats do this, leave the leftover bits from their kills on their household’s doorstep, hoping we will learn how to hunt. 7th & Silver, Lake City, Colorado Someone once brought me a recently killed owl. The body was wrecked so I cut off the wings and feet, salted the joints and kept the wings and talons. I learned that possession of owl wings is a violation of federal law (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), so I buried them in the woods near my home. I kept the talons.