Could the art of ‘sashiko’ help to mend our frayed world?

In sashiko, the goal is not to hide the repair but to celebrate it, hence a patch is attached to the inside of the fabric using neat rows of tiny stitches, leaving the tear still visible. Sashiko exemplifies the Japanese principle of wabi-sabi, which has no direct English translation but expresses a sense of beauty in the incomplete and imperfect. It honours the strength to be found in the fineness and delicacy of the work: a patched and repaired garment is a source of reflection, even reverence. On Instagram, you’ll find examples of the skilful use of patches in contrasting colours and patterns that render a mass-produced garment unique and expressive, a product of individual experience and taste and with a delicate and coherent beauty all its own.

By Melanie McGrath, Psyche Magazine

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