Ages ago I got this kind of woollen smock from Primark. At the time I marvelled that something that was 80% pure lambswool could cost so little, since there is no way the yarn to knit such a thing could have been bought for a comparable price. It was about Â£10. I have loved the smock, but the smock is so infinitely wearable that it got filthy, paint-splattered and ripped very quickly. Although this sounds brutal, for me this kind of treatment is only reserved for the most beloved of garments. A quick trip to the washing machine promptly felted it.
And since that point it has sat in my mending basket. Today I took it into the gallery with me and mended it. I know, you must all be thinking that me and Emmylou are just spending the whole week making clothes in Love is Awesome. And you’re right. But there is a lot of love bound up in the mending and creation of clothes. And it is freezing in the gallery so working with yarny items keeps us both occupied and warm.
I decided to make a design feature of the paint-splashes, and used them as the basis or blueprint for some freestyle embroidery. Here is a paint-stain before and after my interventions:
Then I cut the shrunken armholes to the correct size for my arms and blanket stitched then back-stitched the newly widened holes and continued to cover up the paint-stains with little blobs of lovely green yarn. I also sewed up the giant rip that went right across the back.
And here I am in the gallery, posing in the ammended and now once again useful garment.
To sustain ourselves through this day of sub-zero temperatures and mending work (Emmylou is working on her Hourglass sweater) we ate pies from Sweeneys. They make the best pies in Reading. You must come to Reading and have pies with us.
I promise to write more about the domestic soundscape and indeed the show itself soon. At the moment I am too busy eating pies and skipping about in my nice new smock.