“I think people, they need something that’s for them, just to concentrate on,” says the voiceover in the opening scene of the short documentary “Visible Mending,” published recently as part of the Op-Docs series from The New York Times. Another adds, “There’s something about, you know, when your life is sort of falling apart, you need to have—create a purpose in it for yourself. And if that purpose is quite small, it doesn’t matter. It’s important. It’s something tangible.”

The voices belong to members of the Merrymakers, a small group of older knitters in rural Shropshire, England. Cue the delicate swishing and clicking of knitting needles and a yarn ball on the loose, and we’re welcomed into a charming, thoughtful reflection on the craft of healing.

Shrewsbury-based filmmaker Samantha Moore (previously) began interviewing participants five years ago, spurred to make a documentary after her mother developed dementia in her early 60s and forgot how to read patterns. “After years of having her knit for me, I taught myself how to knit by watching YouTube tutorials,” Moore says in an article accompanying the film. “As I learned more, and my mom’s health declined, I began to understand the solace that knitting brings.”

 

a gif of a knitted bear knitting with knitted snowflakes falling around

Filmed at a studio in Birmingham, Moore’s stop-animation brings knitted characters to life, including a teddy bear, mice, birds, and a sweater in various states of unraveling. The interviewees are represented by personalities of their choice, reflecting backgrounds that range from academia and healthcare to community volunteering and activism—like the work of artist Lorna Hamilton-Brown, MBE.

In visiting the social group, Moore learned about individuals’ lives and why the craft provided much-needed focus or respite from anxiety or adversity. “All the members had their own stories illustrating the therapeutic power of textile arts and how knitting granted them the time and space to process grief, frustration, or health struggles,” Moore says.

Participants share their experiences of dealing with stress by learning to knit loosely and be more relaxed or the wonder and sense of accomplishment sparked by a two-dimensional chart full of “k’s” and “p’s” transforming into a three-dimensional object.

Go behind the scenes on the film’s site.

 

a gif of a knitted mouse giving another a knitted cupcake

a beige sweater is repaired haphazardly with pink string

a knitted bear knits with sweaters floating nearby

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article ‘Visible Mending’ Weaves Tales of Emotional Repair, One Stitch at a Time appeared first on Colossal.

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