Following our visit to the Heritage centre, I seemed to have mending matters on my mind. Curiosities arouse about the practice of mending, the necessity of it and the beauty of it. It is something we do in an ongoing way, to prolong the life of an object and it is often something not remarked on or recognised. However I can’t but help notice the beauty of repair work……
There are some many different types of mending to explore; one collection in particular that caught my eye is Andrew Basemans Past Imperfect collection of what are often called make-do’s – domestic objects dating back centuries that bear evidence of having been broken and repaired in unusual and often artful ways. Here are some example of some pretties from his website
I love how simple crockery is transformed and tells a story of it’s past, just by the insertion metal staples. The art of inventive repair at it’s best.
Another aspect of mending which I want to further investigate is darning; I touched on this also in my previous blog post.
Darning Samplers were especially prevalent in the Netherlands in the late 18th and early 19th century. Working as a linen seamstress could provide a steady living for these young women and their families. It was especially important for the girls in orphanages to master these skills so they would have an occupation to support themselves upon leaving the home. The training was so serious that these darning samplers were considered a sort of final exam in the orphanages.
I love the colours and use of pattern. It makes me think how can I incorporate darning into my work……..hmmm! Darning is a form of drawn thread work, or pulled thread work and this is something I have been experimenting with.
Darning is something I wanted to further pursue in my making. I always darn my socks; I can’t say I am the neatest and I do have my own way but I do like the process. I have been experimenting with the horsehair fabric, and by precisely and patiently cutting out the weft from the fabric, I can create graphic imagery leaving just the warp in place (see image below). This is some way mimics the darning process but in reverse, revealing the longitudinal stitches that form the warp instead of inserting them. Slightly ironic perhaps; I am trying to recreate the darning process by distressing the fabric rather than mending it.
Sarah Pink sees mending/repair work as re-making,
“objects are never restored to what they were before, but are remade to emerge as something else”
Mending as Re- making…..this interests me!
Whilst distressing the horsehair, I was working very closely with the fabric and I noticed something; a mend along the edge of the fabric, but not just one, several all along the selvage. Each length of fabric had them, parallel lines of tiny stitchings fixing a recurring flaw. But how did this flaw happen and who fixes it…this is something I must enquire about on my next trip to John Boyd’s mill? I know they mend the machinery themselves, but how much mending of fabrics is undertaken….?
A lot of my Z Twist time has been focussed on research up to now which has been great as I am really taking the time to fully investigate my approach but I really can’t wait to get stuck in making. Next time you hear from me, I’ll have lots of photos of hands on making………..