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 bought this about three years ago now, at a ‘Value Village’, which is a second-hand consignment store. And I got them for seven dollars. They are Italian, they are Italian leather shoes and I just found them and as soon as I saw them on the shelf, I knew that I loved them. So initial purchase was seven dollars and over the last three years I tried first - because they were quite neglected - I tried doing some restoration myself… the soles were coming off… not using right kind of stuff, like epoxy, not shoe glues, that kind of thing. So I tried for myself and unsuccessfully for about six months, I mean, they were put back together, fall apart and put together.
Then I decided to take them to the cobbler and I've gone several times over the last two years to get them repaired. I thing my total investment was something between 150 and 200 dollars for the shoes. A whole new piece [on the inner toe] was added recently, my girlfriend got them redone for my birthday. My toe was starting to pop through this hole. Unless you look up down the ground level, you can't tell that is there. …I like the wear on them. I like the patching…"
Vancouver - February 2013
Photograph by Jeremy Calhoun