I came across this photo when clearing my mother's house. She died so recently that I still can't take it in, and this domestic vignette, recorded on film by, I suppose, me, is bittersweet, to say the least.
She always sewed, did Ma. She taught my sister, and (a decade later) she taught me. Starting with buttons, progressing to dressmaking and embroidery, detouring via crochet. My sister took it way further than I--tailoring, for instance, her first husband a three-piece suit. Me, I was more prone to extemporizing strange punky trousers out of old bedsheets. Naturally, we all sewed things up when they tore.
Last I saw that basket, punctuation of my life, it sat open by the William Morris sofa. Ma had been sewing to the last, hemming a pair of pants I'd bought her just before she stopped walking.
I like to think she was still smiling her sewing smile, made of absorption and of relief from thought and stress. How lucky I was to learn that smile. Let's teach stitchery to all our daughters and sons, pass on the basket, send them mending into the future. 
R.I.P. Marianne Sekules.

Kate Sekules
Kate Sekules


2 Responses

Nancy Schwab
Nancy Schwab

April 14, 2020

Reminds me of my mom and grandmother. They made most of their clothes and were always mending and repairing and repurposing. Never threw anything out. The influence of the Depression era played a big role. I know I inherited that drive. I have always loved fixing items or changing them to be used again, for another purpose. People have always thought I was strange to spend my time ‘saving’ a scarf or a glove. Or restyling a dress or making a pillow out of nothing. I have found a kindred spirit in you. I just read about you in the Chicago Tribune. PS: I just made 20 cloth masks with fabric and elastic already in my stockpile ;)

Mary Schoolcraft Saunders
Mary Schoolcraft Saunders

June 06, 2017

Some of my most precious belongings are things my mother made with her hands.

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