Mending: Community Repair in Madison |
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Mending: Community Repair in Madison

November 2, 2023 - 11:00am to 4:00pm
James Watrous Gallery • • Madison
Thursday, November 2, 2023 - 11:00am to 4:00pm


James Watrous Gallery
201 State Street
53703 Madison , WI

Explore mending across Madison through a series of events hosted in partnership by Madison Public Library, The Mending Project, the James Watrous Gallery, and Center for Design and Material Culture at UW-Madison's School of Human Ecology. Tour two amazing exhibitions, learn how volunteers do free mending for the local community, and pick up a needle yourself at a visible mending workshop! 

Schedule of Events: 

Starting at Madison Central Library from 11am-12pm, The Sewing Machine Project will host a tour of the free, volunteer supported mending services available weekly to community members through their initiative, The Mending Project. Learn how this project has brought together disparate elements: sewers, machines, librarians, library spaces, library patrons and broken textiles to enrich conversations, community, skills, and relationships. Volunteer menders and coordinators, as well as their library partners, will share the history of the program and stories of their experience. Gain tips on how to begin your own community mending program or explore volunteering with us. The mending session can be observed in room 211 and a Q+A will be presented in the Local History Room on the second floor. 

At 12:30pm, join us across the block at the Overture Center for the Arts for a tour of MEND: the work of repair at the James Watrous Gallery with exhibition curator Jody Clowes. MEND features textile works by Heidi Parkes and sculpture by Glenn Williams, Siara Berry, Sylvie Rosenthal, and Jaymee Harvey Willms, artists whose work touches on diverse aspects of mending and repair. This exhibition was curated in the hopes of inspiring visitors to consider the repairs that could be made in their lives and communities, one step at a time. There is so much in the wider world that needs repair right now. It can feel impossible to respond in a meaningful way, or even identify the tools and skills that could make a difference. But small, close-to-home efforts do matter. Whether it's fixing a wheelchair, restoring a wetland, mending pants or mending a heart, the quiet work of repair sends out ripples of hope.  

At 2pm, visit the Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery at UW-Madison's School of Human Ecology for a tour of Social Threads: Making, Mending and Maintaining Community. This exhibition brings together objects from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection that exemplify how textiles constitute and sustain communities. Through three central themes, making, mending, and maintaining, Social Threads emphasizes how, through textiles, communities around the globe can share stories and create change. Through design and creation, textile making practices have the capacity to build community, reconcile trauma, share history, and carry cultural heritage and knowledge across generations. It is the practice of making and mending that allows space for listening, growth, and even change. 

Finally, learn the art and craft of two visible mending practices, darning and Sashiko stitching, with Mitch Frank, teaching faculty in sewn construction at UW-Madison's School of Human Ecology in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery.  In this hands-on workshop you will have the opportunity to apply these new techniques to your own mending project while considering the rich history and contemporary practices of mending on display at the Watrous Gallery and Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery. Needles, thread, and some scrap fabric will be provided, but feel free to bring any materials you'd like to work with.

These events are free and open to the public! No registration necessary.

Thank you to our partners:



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Wisconsin Academy Offices 
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
Phone: 608.733.6633


James Watrous Gallery 
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25