Wednesday, March 26, 2014

- Quotidian Cloth: Patching jeans boro-style


My first attempt at sashiko stitch,
a Japanese mending technique also known as boro

I've always been fascinated with words ... from the eclectic to the esoteric. Consequently, curiosity led me to Google "a lover of words, " where I found myself to be a logophile.

So when I was thinking how best to present my exploration of slow cloth, I recalled the little-known word "quotidian" from the gentle, quiet time I spent attending a Quaker meeting in Williamsburg. One of the books in their library was a book by Kathleen Norris entitled The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work."  I've just ordered a new copy to refresh my memory on all she had to say, but this quote from the back cover of the book is telling:
"Our daily tasks, whether we perceive them as drudgery or essential, life-sustaining work, do not define who we are as women or as human beings. But they have a considerable spiritual import ..."
My trusty Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition (a high school graduation gift that has survived six moves in 40 years) defines quotidian as:
"occurring every day ...belonging to each day ... commonplace, ordinary"
Which has everything to do with the slow-cloth-style of needlework that has occupied my attention of late. Not wanting to make yet another picture for the wall, I wanted to explore running stitch, sashiko, boro, and darning by making and repairing things that would be used every day: kitchen towels, cloth napkins, patched jeans, darned socks. And in so doing, I re-discovered a contemplative practice that had long eluded me.

To be continued ...

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