Just yesterday I went along to an outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play. The actors had thoughtfully placed vast canvas tarpaulins on the damp grass to accommodate the audience at the four locations in the park at which the various scenes would take place. The play was fine. The seating was awesome.
I love the idea of darning, of repairing or patching, of making good. I cherish the idea that something valuable and useful should be looked after and that with a bit of care, or in this case quite a bit of care, can go on being useful for a long time.
Beyond the virtue of repair, is the very real pleasure in the extraordinary loveliness of these patches that had me all enchanted. I sat down and couldn’t take my eyes off them, I didn’t hear a thing the actors said – while the old King was renouncing his daughter, I was falling love with each and every one of those fabulous scraps of fabric. I imagined the satisfaction of the mender as they completed their work. The patches are rough and ready and serviceable and all the more beautiful for that in my eyes – some are sewn with workmanlike, purposeful zigzags, although others with more fanciful swirls and flourishes.
Strewn on the grass as they were, the tarps with their patches took on the micro landscape, aerial view look of ploughed fields and farmland paddocks. I could hardly wait for the performance to be over so I could look more closely at all this mending goodness. I may be a philistine after all.