Frank, the man who asked me to make 44 potholders from his wife’s clothes left me a few pieces that were 100% polyester. He left the polyester clothes because they were important to him. A favorite shirt and robe, a colorful skirt. I didn’t think I would be able to use them, but I knew they meant a lot to him, so I took them. When he called back a week later and said he wanted more potholders and some for people to keep and not use, it became clear how I would use the polyester clothes. So the 10 potholders I made today are different because they can’t be used as potholders, they would melt.
I didn’t think about it too much until I started cutting into the pink robe. I hesitated, I could imagine the woman wearing the robe and the comfort it must have given her. It was pretty and soft and warm. It was something her husband saw her in day after day in the privacy of their home. And here I was, a stranger, cutting this intimate piece of a persons life apart. So I stopped. I though about not using it and realized that it would be worse to give Frank the robe back in one piece than for it to be transformed into something else. It’s about remembering and letting go.