Laundering is high impact and yet not laundering is socially unacceptable. But some pieces defy social pressure and are never washed, often motivated by the fear that laundering causes something precious to be lost: a scent, a memory, the particular way a garment fits, the quality of handwork, and even a political stance.
Coffee + laughter
“This jumper belonged to my Mum in the 1970’s. Her sister knitted it. They’re both deceased so this piece is very special to me… I loved it as a child because it’s really warm and cosy and now what I particularly like about it is the coffee stains. My Mum was kind of an erratic laugher and you know, when she would be drinking coffee she spilled it down it… she was really upset but she had the week before, dipped her cuff into a coffee and only a week later she had spilled all these little coffee stains down the front. So I didn’t want to wash them out… not that I probably could ‘cause it’s probably like 20 years ago that she did that.
I was given a bag of wool from the 1980s recently. And it was all the same mohairs and Arran cottons that were in the bag reminded me of the jumper… the details are just gorgeous. I particularly like the buttons, you see how normally people do the criss-cross, but these have been done around in a circle. I just love the whole… emotional piece.”
Dublin - April 2012
Photograph by Des Moriarty
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