Clothes mending may be a dying practice, but Michael Swaine is resurrecting the craft with his Free Mending Library. On the 15th of every month, the San Fransiscan artist makes his way down to 509 Ellis St and ‘opens shop’ to one of S.F.’s grittiest neighborhoods, the ‘Tenderloin’. On his old ice cream cart-style, treadle-operated sewing machine, Swaine sets about mending and altering people’s socks, jocks and frocks and it’s all for free. Michael is interested in engaging the community to rethink their relationship with clothing and the disposable nature of fashion.
The artist was recently invited by Twisted Thread to participate at the The Knitting and Stitching Show in London. Whilst in the UK, Michael is also running a Door to Door Darning Service, encouraging clients to fill out a survey and speak about if and how people mend their clothing.
See Twisted Thread’s video about Michael here.