To repair a garment and keep it in active service is to practice the skill of user-ship. It calls upon human senses to diagnose what needs to be done and the right emotional tone to carry it through. Stitching, darning, patching and remodelling oversee a subtle shift in the power relations associated with garments: for the work of mending, unlike the world of production, is about people not machines.
"I’ve noticed that all my t-shirts, well not all of them, but many of them, start tearing here [mid line low front]. And this one my mom just gave me when I was home and it started tearing there. So I put a yellow patch on it and continued wearing it. And this one I think I want to put red on it, I like red and this avocado green. And here’s another one that has started tearing. The under t-shirt I have on is shredding and I’ve looked in my house [at waist height to see what could be causing it] and I’ve asked other people… I will keep on adding patches, and it appears, that’s the only place they’ll be."
Marin City - July 2012
Photograph by Paige Green