The one I have on my studio table: It is white… well, it was white. It is now both yellowed and greyed. The elastic is perished, and in parts, when manipulated, makes a slightly scrunchy sound as the rubbery fibres crumble. It has been repaired, taken in, perhaps to compensate for the no-longer elastic fabric. It has illegible labels.
As I handle it, I feel the urge to try it around myself, over my clothes. I somehow think I will have some sort of vulcan mind-merge with the woman that wore it. Somehow I will instantly know of her life.
But no. So I imagine. Poverty of money, or poverty of time, or both, has caused this garment to become like this. I also imagine a poverty of self esteem, but that is perhaps a step too far? But despite my internal argument about making assumptions, my imagination wins through. Some life events have caused this calamity. One last broke-the-camel’s-back life event has at last, caused it to be discarded.
It might be the final life event. The final discarding not by its wearer, but by the wearer’s relatives. But me, I imagine a glorious transformation to something more beautiful. I imagine a line drawn in the sand. No More.
The woman takes a deep breath, holds her chin up, pulls back her shoulders, pushes forward her freshly dressed breasts, and strides out into a new world from the changing room.
The bra I have embroidered here, one of a series, is a celebration of the transformation… the scars/repairs. It is an acknowledgement of the beauty of love and effort given before the love of self. A waiting for a time when it is ripe and right for transformation. The stitches to repair and embellish take a long time. I have lavished colour and stitches, it has been likened to automatic writing: my automatic stitching, unplanned to a large degree, responsive, betrays my Eastern European roots, so I’m told. The tears/tears are still visible… they leave their mark. But I have drawn attention to their beauty: I show the struggle is appreciated.
The stitches I make are an act of love for this woman. She might be my mother, she might be me, as a mother. The empty-nested, new-found, mid-life-crisis me.
Life is short.
Sing songs, and stitch faster.