In praise of darning

In praise of darning

On Friday I posted a blog on the subject of darning inspired by the items of clothing that survived the Depression loaned by Rosemary McLeod for the Slice of  Heaven exhibition. A couple of comments in response to that made me think further.

My mother taught me to start a darn with slipstitch around the hole, then stitch across and down to create a little patch of new fabric. You do need patience, but there are rewards for lovingly repairing your daughter’s black tights – although now I realise that’s another domestic skill I haven’t passed on to her.

I didn’t know that darning mushrooms came in all colours, but why not?  And not all are called mushrooms – some are known as darning eggs.   There’s a humble, plain wooden darning mushroom – or egg – in the Slice of Heaven  exhibition amongst the displays of everyday objects through the century. Look for the room lined with grass and browse around.

Home-grown displays, Slice of Heaven. Copyright Te Papa 2010.

View darning mushrooms and eggs in Te Papa’s Collection here.

And what about this rather beautifully decorated one here? It looks much used, well-loved.

And,  just to add to our growing tribute to darning, Pamela has just sent me a link to the BBC’s fantastic A History of the World project, where there is, of course a darning mushroom! Love it.


  1. Hi Florence
    Is it Te Papa’s house style not to include the date of initial accession?

  2. Hi Ron,

    Thanks for that feedback.
    The credit line is correct and as is standard practice acknowledges the source collection, the donor and the date that legal title transferred. It does not include other provenance information.

    Florence Liger, on behalf of Te Papa’s Collection Management team

  3. Is the date of this acquisition actually correct as stated below?
    Moai kavakava (human figure), 1800s, Maker unknown, Easter Island. Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992. Te Papa

    Surely the acquisition reference should be something like:
    W.O. Oldman collection, acquired by the Dominion Museum in 1949, gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992.
    I am just thinking of how Roger Neich would have credited the accession details.

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