I’m not sure how this got started but for awhile now I’ve been moved
by the tremendous biomass of the plant world.
The enormous amount of living material that
plants pump out into the world.
All this material grows and waves in the breeze.
Eventually parts drop to the ground.
Or maybe a small part of it is eaten
or cut into useful and regular shapes
For building, carving, weaving...
Most of it lies on the ground and is pushed aside.
So yes, I’d been noticing, in my yard and on my street the tremendous amounts of plant refuse, noticing all it’s intricate structure torn apart and pushed aside to decompose.
It would be ridiculously sentimental to find this sad, I don’t find it tragic.
But it does seem strongly metaphorical.
Of all kinds of things - the body, the soul, the society, the common work of the common person... you start thinking of it and it’s endlessly metaphorical.
So, sewing -
The structure of man-made fabric is mathematical, a highly regular grid,
or a highly regular pattern of interlocked loops.
Sewing of all kinds, but especially mending
works with, emphasizes, or repairs these regular patterns.
Plants also have structure, mathematical concepts can be applied to plant growth.*
but no plant, no person, nothing that lives or has lived, conforms much to any mathematical ideal.
We’re continual improvisations on the pattern.
Often very elaborate improvisations.
It is an absurd practice mending a dead plant.
Not embroidering or decorating, but mending.
It’s very fragile slow work- I can wipe out an afternoon’s stitching with a careless movement or a sneeze.
Fat fingers holding the tiniest needles available, pulling the finest thread, still completely out of scale with nature. The finest, most careful work of hands looks huge and clumsy next to the structure of a plant.
Like a scar.
So, yes, this practice - to sew as a continuous improvisation, like a plant
But it does draw attention to the extraordinary delicacy, and strength, and variety, of the common work of the common plant.
* the classic is On Growth and Form by D’arcy Wentworth Thompson