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Full Circle

Full Circle is a collaborative art installation that will be continuously created by visitors to Cary Library, under the guidance of artist Jodi Colella. We will begin with a large canvas circle and invite library visitors to add patches of fabric, yarn, or any other fiber to the circle using any stitch desired. The final project will be a powerful rendition of our Earth, mended and embellished with patches, and stitched by individuals who together bring value and use back to fabric. Layering on the exhibit is encouraged! All are invited to contribute to this exhibit during Mending Circles and regular library hours in January and February.

There is a culture to the multi-faceted practice of mending that has long-established roots spanning centuries of human productive effort. It is experiencing a revival with initiatives that seek to foster repair, re-use, upcycling and other creative forms of waste prevention.

Politically, mending highlights issues of conspicuous consumption and the widespread acceptance of product disposability. We take resources from the earth, transform them into product, then dispose of them in landfills or by incineration thereby not completing the cycle. By returning objects back into the realm of use and value, we negate the need for further resource use in the production of a replacement. In addition to environmental costs, there are human costs as well, namely the exploitative practices of the garment industry in developing countries where workers receive slave wages in order to supply the west with a surplus of inexpensive, fast and disposable clothing.

Socially, mending is a repair mechanism that awakens human sensitivity for making new relationships with things rather than discarding them. It regains cultural memory and richness by rebuilding working knowledge of traditional craft. It facilitates increased human wellbeing, self-esteem and self-efficacy associated with the pleasure of competence. Our mending circles also provide an opportunity to connect with others and build new or deeper relationships with neighbors.

Worn garments are in a constant state of becoming and are imbued with living histories that, if given the chance, may continue well beyond our time. As a symbol of homespun wisdom, caution and thrift, mending stitches reflect an act of care, of preserving and mending relationship. In the spirit of Japanese Boro, which translates to ragged or tattered, we will be mending with used fabrics, to see beauty in impermanence and imperfection with both a spiritual and aesthetic value.

Some facts:

  • 100 billion garments are manufactured annually
  • 90% of this sells leaving 10 million pounds of deadstock
  • An average person throws out 81 pounds of clothing each year
  • 26 billion pounds of textiles and clothes end up in landfills



- Arthur Ashe



Meet the Artist: Jodi Colella
Opening Reception
January 6 | 7pm

Join us in welcoming artist Jodi Colella as she introduces our collaborative public art project, Full Circle. Library visitors are invited to add patches of fabric and other fibers to the canvas in a visible mending style. Colella will describe how she arrived at this concept and will demonstrate various stitches that can be used to participate. You do not have to have any knowledge of sewing, stitching or fiber arts in order to collaborate on this exhibit with us!

Mending Circles

  • January 11 | 1pm
  • January 24 | 9:30am
  • February 6 | 7pm
  • February 19 | 5pm

Come stitch with Jodi! No prior experience with sewing or needlework is needed. You can bring your own supplies or use ours.

Check our calendar for other related events!

Mending by Vita Plume

The act of trying to
how and why
has been
torn out/eroded
in order to re-make, re-weave


Obstructed View

SKIRTING THE ISSUE, 6x4x4 in., found figurine, assorted threads - 2018 BLUE BOY, 21.75x15 in., ink jet transfer onto aluminum, wool, cotton – 2019


(left) SKIRTING THE ISSUE, 6x4x4 in., found figurine, assorted threads - 2018
(right) BLUE BOY, 21.75x15 in., ink jet transfer onto aluminum, wool, cotton – 2019

Little girl figurines sporting Mary Jane shoes are bound with yarn around the head and torso, with hands breaking out of the fray of their masked identities. These sculptures are inspired by the cultural pressures felt by many—but particularly women—whose stifling restrictions permeate all the physical spaces of their world. The resulting works convey both whimsy and threat as they capture that place where anxiety and beauty can comingle.

In the other half of Obstructed View, Jodi’s stitched tintypes investigate hidden meanings, focusing on the strangeness of what is assumed to be known, but isn’t. Colella transfers these portraits onto large sheets of aluminum then embroiders them. In this way, an obsolete 19th century photo process is transformed into an object of contemporary relevance that recontextualizes history and begs the question “is what we see really what it is?”

This exhibit is featured in the Piper Gallery on the main floor.

About the Artist

Artist Jodi Colella sitting on a couch amidst her fabric creations.

Jodi Colella uses needlework to infuse renewed power to craft practices. She pushes the boundaries of traditional techniques to create works that imply an inner vitality and awareness of what it means to be human. Struck by their poignant anonymity, Jodi scours flea markets for found objects that she alters with fiber and idiosyncratic embroidery to call attention to those whose identities are long forgotten. Jodi Colella exhibits and teaches internationally. She is a member of Boston Sculptors Gallery and a recipient of a 2019 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship Award for Sculpture.


This exhibit was made possible by the generous donors to the Cary Memorial Library Foundation.