20 September 2012

VP9 Challenge: The Scent of a Memory

This month’s VP9 challenge deals with memories and how they can be triggered by certain smells...

florastrology_liliesWhen I read Diane Wright’s description of our 4th challenge, I immediately thought of the IV drug Heparin.

Strange but true.

For me, heparin has very distinct taste and smell which evokes a vivid memory. During cancer treatment the nurse would inject this blood thinner to kind of ‘clear out’ the vein (sorry if that's gross) before starting the heavy hitter chemo drugs. Every time they injected the heparin I would get an absolutely definite taste/smell right in the back of my nose & throat. Penny_tails

The best way I can describe it: take a deep whiff of a Stargazer Lily while you hold a copper penny in your mouth. Not exactly a pleasant flavor combination.  Also, not a very pleasant memory. To this day I can’t stand the scent of Stargazer lilies. It makes me nauseous.

I thought it would be interesting to make something positive or beautiful (or at least visually appealing) from this negative association. I’m not interested in creating art that either celebrates/memorializes chemo or cancer. I don’t want that hanging on my wall.  So I concentrated on the smell/taste itself and not the memory it triggers.

I gave myself the following parameters for my design:

1. The design must reference stargazer lilies and copper pennies in some way

2. The finished piece has to be visually appealing

I’ll post the results on October 26 when our Viewpoints9 gallery goes live. 


  1. Yikes, you set a high standard! I'll be looking forward to seeing yours.

  2. Thanks Diane. It's a great challenge to work on :)

  3. Interesting story above... as a caregiver, I often hear patients say there's a taste to meds I administer. Interesting to hear what your tastebuds were experiencing! Can't wait to see what you come up with - you never disappoint, my incredibly talented, gifted, & creative friend! xxoo

  4. Thanks Carol! For the compliment and also for backing me up on this. I'm not crazy right? Well, let's not go there. Ha ha

  5. Hey Kate - do you have any design updates to share? Your approach is intriging and I can't wait to see the progress!

    Carol E

  6. Hi Carol! In fact, yes I do have an update. I don't want to post a picture of the final piece until Viewpoints9 opens the gallery on Oct 26, but I will be giving a "peek" at my challenge quilt later today. Thanks for checking in, and stay tuned! :-)


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