Category Archives: 6 word memoir

6-Word Memoir Series

Yes, this is my long term project which ties my professional 9-5 job with my creative life.


I teach at a college in Quebec.  I teach English as a second language and I teach many levels and many types of courses. My classes are similar to university classes, 15 weeks of 3-hour courses so I see a lot of students in a year.  Each semester, I have about 120-150 students.  For me, teaching is not all about the subject matter but also the human side.  My students range in age of 17-21 but I also have quite a few older students too, those who have come back to school.   I love this level of education because our youth have so much to give to our future.  They love to debate and have strong opinions as well of humourous and serious ways of looking at the world.  That is why I ask my students to write their own memoirs; their 6-word memoirs.  I find it is a good way to use what they have learned in English as well as expressing themselves creatively.

I ask my students to create their own and try not to make a cliche but to play with the cliche if necessary (doesn’t happen all the time). They then have to hand in a powerpoint slide which includes the memoir and and an image(s) that reflects the idea.  The last requirement is to write the memoir onto a block of fabric.  I tend to go with the 5-inch block (I am thinking of going triangles this year).  I then play with the memoirs.  My hope is to make a series and exhibit them in our school mini art gallery.  It has taken me a long time to get here.  I still have a way to go because I am not sure of the outcome but I have started.

The big quilt at the top of the post is the one I bring into class, to explain the project to the students.  I also tell them about my dark side as a quilter and they love that idea.  When I explain the project, they tend to say that it is impossible to write only 6 words, but then I start seeing their fingers tapping on the desks; counting out their words.  Some modify their tattoos and favourite expressions.  I give 1% for this assignment and for many it is the assignment that means the most.

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This year the film controversy of Thirteen Reasons Why made it into my classroom.  My students changed the title and positive messages came out.  I like how the days’ events enter into the fold.

This spring I took a few workshops about finishing quilts in a creative way:

finish 1.JPGHere is some piping and sashing technique.  Please excuse the blasphemy above.  That is a part of a 6-word memoir.  I may do a quiltlet of blasphemous because I do get the odd one.  Students will be students.

finish 2.JPGAnother finish, double piping.

The finishing workshops really got me into gear for a series of pieces.  I had to bring sandwiched blocks to the workshop so I decided that it was now or never to start my 6-word memoir project.   I made my sandwiched pieces with my memoir blocks.  I stayed up almost all night, it was so much fun, quilting for me and simply playing! These are the pieces after my day-long workshop:

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My design wall.

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So, I have some finishes to do.  This project has so many possibilities! It is positive and it really adds to my love of my job.  I hope that you enjoy the messages from my students.  People who I meet have given me their 6-word memoirs and if you care to send me a block with yours, I would welcome it ;).  After incubating and collecting the memoirs, I have a beginning and I hope that there is no end because our lives are always giving messages.  I have even started logging my own daily 6-word messages.  The sky is the limit for this project! The themes I can delve into, not to mention quilt techniques, from piecing to applique to machine quilting and embroidery.  Follow along!

I am linking up with The Needle and Thread Network