Stitch Your Brain
by Monika Auch

Stitch Your Brain by Monika Auch

Stitch your Brain, © Monika Auch

Publication released in November 2023 by Jap Sam Books is an unique, hybrid study in art and science about the importance of creating with our hands in the digital age.

The book is beautifully designed with a textile cover that immediately speaks to the senses. 100+ full color images and five articles explore the various aspects of the study and the collected stitched works. They discuss the material technical aspects, critical ethical comments about neuroscience and the relevance of making by hand and wellbeing. The texts also refer directly to the detailed images of 100+ stitched brains which are, in fact carefully executed, intimate self-portraits.

Monika Auch: ‘The data analysis and interpretations provide insights in the relationship between creativity, stress management, age, well-being, and skill learning. They support the positive influence of crafting for short- and long-term learning, for increased dexterity and personal empowerment.’

Prof. R. Zwijnenberg, Humanities, Leiden argues the importance of co-existence of art and science and why they need each other. ‘‘After all, the project shows that there are questions that will never and cannot ever be answered by the neurosciences. In order to understand ourselves, we cannot do without art.’

Dr. Marieke Hendriksen, Head of Department Art & Knowledge Practices, vivdly describes the history of the imagery of the brain from Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches, to Rembrandt’s famous painting of the anatomical lesson and modern MRI scans.

Charlotte Steels, former director of the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection, illustrates the social relevance of craft as a powerful tool to support wellbeing. ‘Our involvement in the Stitch Your Brain project remains one of our most successful collaborations in recent years due to the support and interest it received both from the community and local health practitioners as a means of bringing the textile community together in a period of isolation during the pandemic.’

Technical art historian Mané van Veldhuizen describes the material and technical aspects of the works. ‘The Brain Collection gives an incredible insight into how the interaction between brain, hand, tools and material leads to creation. It also shows that materials are multi-faceted and open up a rich world of possibilities. Upon touching and taking the matter in our hands, we can discover these possibilities and broaden our understanding of the world around us.’

Stitch Your Brain is a long-term study into the intelligence of the hand by visual artist and former medical doctor Monika Auch. The book shows in text and images the results of the empirical study Auch worked on for the past decade about the importance of creating with your hands in our digital age and the effects of slow making on neuro cognitive learning, health, and well-being. The ‘Amsterdam Brain Collection’ consists of 118 works and is meant to be a travelling collection. The book is a documentation and catalogue for future exhibitions.

ISBN 978-94-92852-77-9
Price € 30,00
Author Monika Auch
Additional texts Prof. R. Zwijnenberg, Dr. Marieke Hendriksen, Charlotte Steels, Mané van Veldhuizen
Editor Eleonoor Jap Sam 
Graphic design SJG / Joost Grootens
Number of pages 256
Book size 17 x 24 cm
Binding softcover
Language English
Release date November 2023
Publisher Jap Sam Books

The publication has been made possible by Creative Industries Fund NL, Gawthorpe Textiles, Collection, Stichting Stokroos and stichting VoorVrouwenDoorVrouwen.

More information:,

Stitch your Brain, © Monika Auch

Stitch your Brain, © Monika Auch

Stitch your Brain, © Monika Auch

Stitch your Brain, © Monika Auch

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