Mending and rejuvenating clothing has become the center of my studio practice as a fiber artist and the core of my work as a teacher at retreats and workshops across the United States. In August 2013 I started my fast-fashion fast, Make Thrift Mend, and abstained from buying new clothing for one year while I focused instead on making simple garments, buying secondhand, and mending what I already owned. From this project grew my current love of mending and my techniques inspired by Sashiko stitches, Japanese Boro garments, and traditional European darning to embrace the creative opportunity in repair. This allowed me to use my background as a fiber artist, my college training in environmental studies, and my passion for social practice to focus on a sustainable and inspired wardrobe.
As part of Make Thrift Mend I was awarded a grant to teach sustainable fashion workshops online. Soon after, I began teaching mending workshops throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To my surprise, the mending workshops sold out quickly and I now teach workshops and retreats across the country. This work is part of a contemporary movement called “visible mending” or “creative mending” or “modern mending“. But it’s largely inspired by the Japanese embroidery work of Sashiko and the Japanese mending work of Boro, but also looks to the Kantha stitches in India, the darning repairs throughout Europe, and how cultures across the globe repaired textiles. While we think of visible mending as a new trend, we’ve simply been mending our garments since the beginning of human history.
Mending embraces slow stitches and traditional handwork but it’s also disruptive to the fashion treadmill and encourages what I call, “mendfulness“. You can read more on my thoughts about mendfulness and slow fashion through my Instagram page, my yearlong Slow Fashion Citizen blog series on the Fringe Association blog, or in my article Mendfulness published in the Mend issue of Taproot magazine. To checkout my upcoming mending workshops please view the News section of my website.