Mend and Make Well - an artwork and a lifestyle
Updated: Apr 16
I learned about Mend & Make Well while I was at school because Jessica Vellenga, the artist behind this participatory artwork, did a residency at my university. I wanted to talk about her work, and how I think it integrates into a simple living and ethical lifestyle here on the blog.
First of all - she’s awesome to work with and taught me how to blind stitch the edges of a vintage silk scarf that my mother inherited from my grandmother. During her residency, Jessica helped mend items of clothing and taught methods of mending while recording and appreciating the personal stories behind each piece. "Mend and Make Well" educates the public and encourages sustainability.
Fast forward a few months and I still think about Jessica’s outlook on clothing and mending and I try to apply this to my own thoughtful closet. Since I do purchase second-hand pieces most of the time to have a sustainable and ethical wardrobe, mending has become a part of my lifestyle.
Mending extends the lifespan of a piece of clothing, encouraging sustainability and the conservation of something that has already been made. It makes us cherish what we have and appreciate the use we get out of an item.
Mending can also be quite relaxing and there is a sense of pride for the craftsmanship put into fixing a piece. I love being able to fix my items of clothing, to appreciate their use and continue to use them. I also love the joy on someone's face when I help them attach a button back onto their winter coat or fix a hole in their leggings. I've kind of become the go-to clothing fixer-upper for my friends and family because I always offer to help them mend a piece if they bring it to my attention.
Living a more minimal lifestyle and being really intentional in my belongings and actions really lends itself to mending items of clothing. I intentionally bring items of clothing into my life, and I want them to last for as long as they can in my wardrobe. The act of sewing something back together is an act of intention and appreciation. Appreciation for what we have, appreciation for the life of a garment and an appreciation of sustainability (reusing, re-fixing, etc.).
I hope this encourages you to mend a piece of clothing you own and to keep that piece from going to a landfill. Leave in the comments below what you’ve mended recently!
You can learn more about "Mend and Make Well" here: http://jessicavellenga.com/?p=4223
You can read more about Jessica Vellenga here: http://jessicavellenga.com/?page_id=2