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Tomorrow I start on a road. It started a while ago but tomorrow it starts proper.

A road that secretly started over 50 years ago. The road has entangled itself into my life and helped shape it, helped shape the world’s reaction to me. It’s defining moments have become my defining moments. It’s limitations gave me my drive, my attitude.

Before, it wasn’t invasive. It was there but it hid like the invisible mending all classic tailors are taught. Now it will show its face.

A few years ago my fascination for how it was constructed, an items history of use worn proudly like the thumbprint of the potter, the crumble of decay, or the marks of skilled repair, manifested into the showing with pride.

The Visible Repair, an honest showing of care and respect of the thing, the resource, the maker, the energy expelled.

a visible mend

When I sat on my Gran’s knee or sat next to Mum as I assimilated their skills as seamstresses, when I learnt needlework at school, I rebelled against the ‘longwindedness’ of traditional process (traditions I just couldn’t be bothered with but everyone said I had to do, so I did). It wasn’t till the late 70’s, maybe early 80’s when I met Kaffe Fassett at one of his workshops where the restrictions of traditional knitting got blown away. His methods cut the bindings. Just like my hospital stay at the age of 10. After 2 weeks of tests the doctors gave permission to join in with whatever I wanted to do (no longer the ill girl sitting at the side, unable to ‘join in’) They had cut my bindings of ill health.

But the bindings have returned and I face a visible repair of my own. Tomorrow is the pre-op assessment for open heart surgery, it needs a repair. Some time in the very near future I will wear a mend like this.

548475-allison-harding

548475-allison-harding

I wonder ……. will it be as liberating as all those test back in ’67? or will I turn into that caged thing, sitting on the side lines, screaming inside. Wanting to run, swim, be part of ‘it’ I was before. Or will I find a new artistic textile voice?

Some outside forces are wondering why I’m not fearful and sometimes its hard not to believe them but I see it more as the life cycle of a butterfly.

Ive been a caterpillar.

I’ve been the cocoon.

Will this be my turn to be a butterfly?

 

 

 

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