Beauty of Repair

A while back I broke a tote bag belonging to my girlfriend. I was borrowing the bag to transport some items and as I cycled back it got caught in the spokes of my front wheel. I unfortunately do not have a picture however sufficed to say the bag was ripped beyond use. Though large items would work repeated use would just increase the size of the tears.

Beyond it holding sentimental value I did not want the bag to go to waste. Ideally I wanted the bag to be fully usable (whether that has been achieved is yet to be seen).

There is a Japanese tradition, Kintsugi, of repairing broken pottery using a lacquer mixed with gold (or other precious metals). This highlights the cracks and imperfections rather than aiming to hide them. They demonstrate that the item has had a life, that the flaws and imperfections are being embraced. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at this and though the medium is different I felt I could attempt to apply the same philosophy to this bag.

So I planned to neatly stitch up the bag back to usability but make it clear:

“This bag is repaired! This bag is loved.”

My girlfriend chose the thread colour and I set to work creating what I felt was the tote bag’s beautiful scar tissue. Though I didn’t have proper sewing thread, using crochet thread, I feel this added to the repair. It made it chunkier, it stood out, the whole repair was like an embroidery.

If I was going to mend the bag with an obvious repair I wanted to add a message.

“I ♥ U”.

Because of course I love my girlfriend. I also like the idea that it is because of the repair that the message is there. That by taking the time to “heal” the bag the process has made it more special and loved.

I guess the message here is that embracing flaws, imperfections, the things that we’ve spent time to heal from is beautiful. And having flaws and imperfections are an opportunity to be unique, to work with and come out stronger.

This may be a bit left field but I have often felt bad or guilty to ask for help or to be upset. That it’s a burden to those around me. I’ve gotten a lot better and mending the bag I’ve realised that the process of healing, especially with others, can lead to something so much more beautiful.

I love you


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