On the face of it repairing and reinforcing textiles simply prolongs the life of our clothes and helps minimize textile waste, things worth having – but for many, it also delivers much more than that. The French sculptor, Louise Bourgeois said: ‘The act of sewing is a process of emotional repair’, it helps to centre us, and tells us stories about ourselves and the resilience of our families and communities.
This episode looks at the case for mending and thinks about how different cultures approach this, from the wool-rich districts of Yorkshire with their darning to the rural areas of Japan with Sashiko and Boro textiles, and onto Indian traditions of telling stories in Kantha cloth and making something completely new out of something old.
Thanks to Claire Wellesley Smith, who is a community worker in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Hikaru Noguchi who lives in Tokyo and is an expert darner now writing a new book about Sashiko, and Ekta Kaul, who tells stories of place, history, and belonging through thread and fabric.
If you go to Haptic and Hue’s website at www.hapticandhue.com/listen, you will find a full transcript of this podcast and pictures of some of the fabrics and techniques we talk about. You can also sign up there to get these podcasts directly in your inbox, as well as having a chance to win some of the textile-related gifts I give away with each episode.
If you want to see more of Claire Wellesley Smith’s work you can find it on her website: http://www.clairewellesleysmith.co.uk/ or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cwellesleysmith/
Her new book: Resilient Stitch: Wellbeing and Connection in Textile Art is published by Batsford and can be ordered from independent booksellers at https://uk.bookshop.org/a/260/9781849946070
Hikaru Noguchi’s website is at http://hikarunoguchi.bigcartel.com/, and she on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hikaru_noguchi_design/
Her book called Darning: Repair, Make, Mend can be found at https://uk.bookshop.org/books/darning-repair-make-mend/9781912480159. Her new book on Sashiko is due to be published next year.
Ekta Kaul’s work can be seen on her website at https://www.ektakaul.com/. She is on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ekta_kaul/. Ekta is running virtual courses on Kantha stitching and a variety of other classes over the next few months – you can find details at: https://www.ektakaul.com/product-category/embroidery-masterclasses/