For Grace Russo, a mother in Westminster, Maryland, mending clothes is both a quotidian chore of stewardship and an invitation to contemplation. Inside her home, she patches clothes with exuberant needlework, which overspills the original damage and overruns the garment. Outside, she applies her training as a master gardener to decide which acts of human creation honor the natural world and which must be ripped out by the roots.

Russo became interested in mending when she was in graduate school, where she had little space in her budget for new clothes when hers got too thin or damaged. The clothes that most needed mending were the ones she had worn most.

Russo mends her husband’s cotton button-downs with little rivulets of colorful thread.