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jessamy shay | visible mending & slow fashion

handmade clothing & textiles

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art by somerville artistjessamy shay | visible mending & slow fashion titledTailored Wool Coat
Tailored Wool Coat Wool fabric, metal closures, satin lining
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Events 2024

  • Open Studios (May 4+5, 12-6pm)
    Map# 82
    Pearl Street Studios
    226 Pearl Street #3R  
    [Not reported as Accessible]
  • Artwear: The SOS 2024 Fashion Show
    (Thurs, May 2 • Doors  6 pm, show @ 7 pm)
    Crystal Ballroom - 55 Davis Square
Directions (google maps) >>

Artist's Statement

I am a textile artist, mender, and fashion designer interested in the intersection of functionality, sustainability, and personal expression. My mended and upcycled garments are a collaboration between me and the circumstances of each garment’s previous life. Traditional handcraft processes like embroidery, applique, and darning are reinterpreted in modern, playful ways to creatively repair damage and interact thoughtfully with each garment’s innate history. By infusing these garments with equal parts imagination and skill, my work upends the notion that mended clothing is “worth less” or that “new is better”. 

I use pre-existing materials in my work to denounce and disrupt our pervasive throwaway culture. I seek out damaged clothing made of high quality natural fibers in an effort to divert them from a devastating textile waste stream by uncovering the hidden potential that still lies within them. Scraps from the mending process are incorporated in my textile jewelry. By ensuring that as little as possible goes to waste, I am honoring the resources and labor that went into creating these materials in the first place.

I also teach sewing and creative mending workshops several times a month. I teach to pass on skills that were once commonplace, and to show students that age-old handcraft processes can be recontextualized to be fresh and contemporary. In all facets of my work, I challenge people to engage with clothing in ways that are more personal, intentional, and joyful.

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