Bookshelf: Creative Mending by Hikaru Noguchi

Like A Dictionary of Color Combinations by Sanzo Wada, I encountered Creative Mending by Hikaru Noguchi while travelling. Wandering the retail district of a regional town in New South Wales Australia, I encountered a small, dimly lit bookstore with a generous selection of textile publications. I picked a book at random and peered inside to find a full colour, step-by-step guide to Goma-shio darning, a technique used to reinforce fabric that has become worn or damaged.

With over 300 colour photos paired with patching, stitching and darning techniques, I knew this was a book I needed. Problem was, I flew out the next day and my bag was already at the weight limit. It would have to wait, and I reluctantly returned the book to the shelf. A couple of weeks later I was visiting a local quilt show in an old bus depot warehouse. Rounding a corner to the second level, I met a small pop-up book store, with Creative Mending on display on a prominent shelf. I bought it gratefully and took it home.

Hikaru Noguchi's basic rules of mending state that repair work should suit the fabric and reflect the user. These stipulations open up an abundance of creative, beautifully personalised repairs ranging from subtle reinforcement to bold statements. The 104-page book includes instructions for repairs to both knitted and woven fabrics with a variety of yarns, flosses and fabrics. Noguchi also discusses contrast, colour and texture, providing in-depth instructions and inspirational images and advice for navigating tricky repair areas like inseams and underarms.

With a background in graphic design, Noguchi moved to England from Japan in 1989 to study constructed textiles. Her personal development of knitted textiles forged a path to creating new and innovative textiles for garments, accessories and furnishings. Hikaru's work has led to collaborations with a number of prominent British designers, her mix of texture and colour through thoughtful hand-work is both resourceful and sophisticated, with a signature sense of quirkiness and play.

Although she acknowledges that the art of visible mending has been shunned for some time in western culture, Noguchi is optimistic that this perspective is now giving way to far more vivid manifestations of repair. As stated in the opening pages of Creative Mending, textile repairs are good for the environment as well as the self, a productive and mediative undertaking that can potentially reduce the staggering amount of clothing items lost to landfill each year. In a time when overconsumption and environmental destruction have come to a head, Noguchi states that she would be delighted if her book inspires just one more person to take up the needle, darning mushroom and thread.

Creative Mending is available on Amazon in hardcover and on Kindle.


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