I keep small art pieces that remind me of home. I sometimes pay little attention to them, but subconsciously knowing they are there keeps me grounded. The day my ‘family’ sculpture fell and the head broke off felt instantly unsettling. It felt as if there had been a detachment from home, I mean, I am always knocking these sculptures over, at least once a week…but they have never broken up before. To add to this, my teabag holder also broke within a few months – what was going on? Getting confirmation that I could fix these was surprisingly emotive, happiness and relief flooding into me. These pieces are very characteristic of my culture, the colours and the shapes reminding me of where I come from and who I am, of home – far away and yet near.
Fixing them was symbolic of my connection with my homeland and my family. My world and the world had been feeling a lot crazier over the last few months, and seeing my ‘family’ sculpture and my teabag holder complete made me feel that everything is going to be okay. I am, however, moving them to a safer place where I stop knocking them over but can still see them everyday. Just in case.
This was a fifty minute break within a ‘wheel of care’, whether at home with my gorgeous kids, at placement, or at college learning about how to care within mental health, the wheel keeps turning. The time spent with Angela was a change from the usual and in itself brought refreshment, with stimulating chat and a focus on repairing some socks. Poignant and necessary just by fact that the activity was not as essential as my children, the residence where I find myself on placement or the next e-learning/ lecture that is scheduled. I love repairing the old and finding second hand options, rather than buying new. This 50 minutes was all about that interest. I particularly loved Angela’s words about repairing: ‘that always the item being repaired turns out different / changed, never is it returned quite to its original state’.
When I don my leopard print cardigan with shell buttons, I become a little more ‘Georgi’. Despite the huge gape in the left sleeve, I wear this cardigan regularly and keep it rolled up in my jumper box for those days I need a little extra confidence or to brighten my mood with thoughts of the precious friend who handed it down to me.
Whilst working with Angela to repair the sleeve I reflect on the extent to which my midwifery training and passion is blotting into all areas of my life and soaking it with previously unexplored meaning. I think of my King’s College Uniform in the same way as this cardigan – it presents me to the public as something I aspire to be and in the imitation I become just so. I choose colours of embroidery thread that appeal to me and suddenly they seem to represent a bright and healthy umbilical cord. As I admire the ease and lightness with which Angela creates the first stitches then create my less delicate replication, I am reminded of all the skill being passed onto me by other midwives and how some things just take practice.
Although the repair of my cardigan is visible and imperfect, I have added value and meaning to the cloth by using my hands and tools to gently bring it back together. I hope that whilst I care for women they will be transformed by their own courage and with my help, they can be brought back together as something even more beautiful and more whole.
Ellie, midwifery student
I have decided to repair a woollen jumper that I stole from my boyfriend. The jumper is grey with patterns in cream, blue and pink. It is warm and cosy and very moth eaten, it has about 15 holes in total. I like to wear it when hiding in my bedroom.
I am looking forward to mending it as I like the idea of adding to it. I will try and set myself a certain number of holes to fix per week. As I am midwifery student the time spent sewing can be a chance for me to reflect on my practice.
Picture: Angela Maddock