08/2019: A couple of years ago, when my dad’s Alzheimer’s went from repeating the same stories and questions to not recognizing me or being able to find the door right in front of him, I searched the internet in hopes of trying to understand what was happening in his brain. I came across information on amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and abnormal tau protein, which cause cell death and brain shrinkage. When people ask how needle felting works, I often describe it as “using a barbed needle to stab wool, causing it to tangle and condense.” So, when I decided a few months ago that I wanted to make fiber art about Alzheimer’s, I made a connection between tangles and brain shrinkage and the process of working with wool. I decided then that I wanted to do something about neurofibrillary tangles with my tangled wool. After looking up more about it and seeing pictures of these tangles, I knew I wanted to create a piece that represented them. So I’ve created this piece with those images in mind. I chose purple because it’s the color associated with Alzheimers, and I chose black because it is a color associated with mourning and death. I decided to create a piece that was largely empty, abstract, and simplistic. I didn’t put any background in because I wanted the viewer to see through it. There have been times where I felt like my dad couldn’t see me, and I could no longer see him as I once saw him. Just the other day when I was on my way to see my parents, I was listening to the Beatles, and the song I’m Looking Through You came on. My dad and his condition were on my mind, and the song’s lyrics took on meanings that Paul McCartney had not intended. Some of the lyrics didn’t correspond, but many did. Lyrics like “I’m looking through you, where did you go. I thought I knew you, what did I know. You don’t look different, but you have changed. I’m looking through you, you’re not the same.” It made me think of how he’s not the same person I once knew, and just when I get to know a new version of him, he changes again. Then there are these lyrics: “Your voice is soothing, but the words aren’t clear.” He sounds the same, he still has his British accent, but what he says doesn’t usually make a whole lot of sense. These thoughts on loss, and trying to understand him and what is happening to his brain, are represented in this piece through the negative space, as well as the fibers that are representative of the neurofibrillary tangles within his brain that are causing him to change. I’m calling this piece Where did you go?