Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Found: Patch

My mom found this patch, or rather noticed it.

It is on a sheet that was being used as a backdrop for a display of old objects at the 2010 Fall fair in the tiny little town she's from. In the background you can see the shadows of people huddled over other displays.

Once a useful household object, conserved and restored by skilled hands. Passed along to the Ag. Society's barn, pulled out for the Fall fair.

I've been thinking about this photo and object as I get ready for Jude Hill's Contemporary Woven Boro class.

I've been thinking about it as a kind of work of art. It is a monument to the exacting and precise skills it takes to mend a tear; a celebration of the necessity to be adaptable and spontaneous with those skills. No two tears are alike after all...

And thinking about it as a cultural relic, full of meaning to be decoded- it carries a story about changing tastes, changing fortunes and changing patterns of day to day living. An artifact that marks the passage of time.

My attraction to this object and my decoding work, however, make me uncomfortable. Like an 'outsider' inspecting something left behind by a stranger.

But my discomfort is resolved when I remember the moment mom found this: the 'art' in this is in the context. That this mended sheet still belongs, still finds a place within a community's life. What I was lucky enough to witness was not the object, but its continued value as useful. What I witnessed was the continued value of 'patches', and of patching.

I think I'll take this as inspiration.


  1. It was meant to be invisible, too, just an accident at the back of the display. But so special. My mom has good, good eyes.

  2. It is so amazing how we are seeing things with new eyes.


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