Exploring a balance between work, creative expression and fostering a more responsible relationship with the materials that make up our world, Textile Artist and Head of our Lived & Loved Repairs team, Amy Brock-Morgan, talks about her passion for textiles and passing it on to more people.
The Art of Repair
I have always loved the tactile nature of cloth, its movement and how useful it is. When I was little, I would play outside for hours, making dens with blankets draped over branches. My Mother was into making our clothes and I quickly became absorbed by the sewing machine and all the possibilities it held. I grew up in a family where we repaired and made most things – from houses, to curtains, to wheelbarrows, our stuff had multiple lives. It was the language I was taught.
Looking back on those moments, it’s funny how they become indicators or connections to our core passions. Today, based in Cornwall, at the edge of the land next to the wild Atlantic Ocean, I work as a repair specialist and textile artist. My work explores how we can reimagine waste streams by repurposing fabrics to give cloth a new life, whilst looking after the abundance already around us. Lessening the need to consume.
Earth-Moon cycles, the Female, lay lines, rock formations and the interplay of land and sea all inform the core of my work. When I am out sketching the cliffs, the standing stones or flora, I am completely present. I’ll perch on a rock and feel the full force of the elements fill me and flush me through. There is stillness and a sense of calm within, even on the wildest blustery days. The expansive nature of this narrative appears visually in my work as cut out shapes and patchworked remnants stitched together to form large scale tapestries sold as commissions or for gallery spaces.
Complementary to this, I lead the Lived & Loved Repairs team at Finisterre. It’s all about how to scale repair to provide our customers and audience a superior service whilst developing and responding to business needs and pushing industry standards. We’re always looking at the evolution of the customer journey and how we can best educate, develop mindset, and provide solutions for how our customers connect with their kit.
My two roles work symbiotically, and one balances the other – the mediative making/thinking space allows ideas to ignite and grow how we repair and run a department at scale. The artwork inspires as does the repair service. It makes us pause for a moment, contemplate, and make a choice.
Once a product has been acquired, we want it to become a lifelong trusted friend that you always reach for, and each repair becomes a reminder of the adventures you’ve shared. I believe repair and aftercare are key in a world where newness has become default. It really wasn’t so long ago the default was care and repair. Now is the time to not only bring back that mindset, but to scale it. Bringing more people on the journey with workshops, teaching the craft and providing people with a space to have a go and learn.
The repair and care of a garment is a skill worth learning and we’re here to help upskill people who are curious through our workshops and demonstrations to practice techniques. Through my art practice we run monthly repair circles in Cornwall and workshop events to explore the art of hand sewing and customisation through techniques such as darning, embroidery and sashiko. It is a joy to teach and allow those interested to have a go. I also run tapestry making workshops where we explore fabric, shape and colour, creating smaller wall hangings exploring a mediative practice.
Within Finisterre we’re continuing to evolve our stores to function as interactive spaces where people can learn more about repair and aftercare. At our Bristol and St Agnes stores we run monthly repair workshops where participants can bring along kit from any brand and learn how to repair it. Our in-house repair workshop gives the opportunity for anyone browsing to ask question, watch the repairs being worked on, or peruse our library of fabrics to choose the colours for their own repair.
If you would like to use the service, please go to Lived & Loved to book your repair in, or buy a repair kit and start your mending journey at home. If you would like to sign up for one of the monthly workshops please go to our Eventbrite page. We also have a tutorial series online with patch repair and darning to follow along to at home, these tutorials are expanding this year with some new techniques to learn.