Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Louise Bourgeois

Mending, 2013
In the garment district there's a small shop that stocks corsetry supplies. Its focus is as narrow the pathway between its counters and shelves. A shallow rut has been worn into the floorboards over the years by costumers and designers, interns and students.

Like well-trod floorboards when a garment has been much worn there's a paring down to the underlying structure. Threads become visible. Movements leave traces of friction--cuffs fray, elbow areas wear out. 

A sweater bought years ago had developed a hole in each sleeve. The sweater with its many virtues--of color, warmth and delicateness--deserved a decent mend that would benefit both its function and appearance.

Rather than use a darning needle took an alternate approach: crochet. Am utterly without practice in this area of needlecraft. The process was a discovery. With a crochet hook looped yarn through the knitted stitches around the irregular periphery of the opening. While darning is grid-like, crochet naturally works in a spiral. Proceeded along the border spiraling into the interior. Worked the stitches in the first sleeve until the spiral closed. The second sleeve had a larger hole. When all the loose stitches had been incorporated into that mend there was an opening which was left as is.

The result might be reminiscent of a crochet covered window shade pull or the web-like embroideries of Louise Bourgeois. Craft and art.

Before mending (gap approx. 2" wide) 

After mending!

It's soothing to work stitch by stitch in the round. Another sweater [these two are stalwarts of the winter wardrobe] had gradually developed a gaping hole at the hem of the sleeve. With this new approach and a spool of darning yarn had a remedy. Now the mend is a design feature.