Transformations Exhibition at Winterthur Museum

Mending as Art at Winterthur Museum

I am beyond thrilled to be included in Transformations, an exhibition opening June 8th 2024 at Winterthur Museum represented by the Opposite of Hate Statemend sweater, a punk smocked shirt and the Socksisters project (a post of its own coming soon). Officially am ARTIST now.

Read on for Winterthur's description of the show, my Artist Statement, and a preview of Socksisters!

Winterthur connects the past and the present in an exciting new exhibition showcasing contemporary art. Transformations features more than thirty nationally recognized artists whose work draws inspiration from the historic collections of the museum, garden, and library. Discover how the old influences the new—forging connections across communities, transforming our perspectives about history, and commenting on our lives today. These artistic expressions reflect each artist’s connection to the fine craftsmanship and design in Winterthur’s collection of decorative arts and archival materials as well as its naturalistic garden and landscape.

Artist Statement

The opposite of hate sweater kate sekules Winterthur Museum

This sweater is obviously a statemend, but all my mends, or co-designs, are meant to stand out. To me, mending is an artistic intervention, a structural, methodological, even metaphysical interference in the life path of a textile object; its application more choice than chore, since it consumes the luxury of time. This counters the history of the mend. For centuries, or millennia, stitchers, usually women, strove for minimal transformation when addressing—relentlessly, inescapably, thanklessly—the effects of time and wear on personal and household textiles. Patches and darns signaled inaccessibility of replacement goods and announced poverty, causing shame. Today, mass-produced faux-patches and industrially ripped denims signal not poverty but fashion. Textile is disvalued. Hyperproduction in insulting conditions, planned obsolescence, trend-based dressing, brand hegemony, discarding disguised as donation or decluttering—I mend in relationship to all of that, gleefully customizing and conserving—in this case punk smocking—what was made for landfill.  

Punk Smocking by Kate Sekules at Winterthur Museum Transformations

Socksisters Project

Socksisters project by Kate Sekules at Winterthur Museum June 2024

Estella Lawall Doerr Haase (1896–1994) kept a collection of her late husband Louis Theodore George Haase’s (1892–1945) worn socks intact for forty-nine years. Kate Sekules acquired this group for her own collection. Many had holes in the left big toe and rear right ankle. Only some had partial repairs…so Kate Sekules contacted an international network of menders through Instagram and asked them, “Who wants to mend a pair?” What started as a joke became a serious project with The Socksisters, twenty-five women in eight countries* who were given free rein to extemporize and repair Louis’s socks in a unique fashion. 

Kate Sekules
Kate Sekules


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