Part 1 of an interview with Cynthia Ruchti,
Author of Tattered and Mended
For anyone who has been battered and bruised by the storms of life, award-winning author Cynthia Ruchti has penned her new book, Tattered and Mended: the Art of Healing the Wounded Soul (Abingdon Press/July 7, 2015/ISBN: 978-1426787690 / $15.99). We all have moments when we feel shattered, wounded and needing to piece together the broken pieces of our hearts and lives.
Q: For whom did you write your new book, Tattered and Mended?
Tattered and Mended was written for all who have been broken and shattered, either by life’s circumstances or at the hand of others, and have lost hope that they could ever claw their way back to wholeness. It’s for those who believe the best they can hope for is simply to be patched together. Yet the truth is God takes the tattered and shattered and makes art of those shards, those frayed threads.
Q: You say when you sat down to write Tattered and Mended one premise filled your heart. Can you share with us what it was?
People are tattered. The world says, “Then let’s make tattered fashionable,” but God invites us to mend.
Q: Why did you choose to use fabric as an allegory throughout the book?
Fabric is one of the primary examples used in the book, but I also used several other examples across the spectrum of art — paintings, doll-making, fiber crafts, pottery, sculpting, metalwork, jewelry-making — that show us how something that looks beyond hope can become not only useful again, but stronger and valuable in new ways.
Q: Is there a formula or prescription for finding healing in Tattered and Mended?
Formulas sound nice on paper, but each individual’s pain is unique, making a one-size-fits-all prescription nearly impossible. Certainly there are principles we can apply, habits we can adopt and perspectives that aid us as we heal and mend. Just as a master artist addresses each canvas as a fresh opportunity for creating, God bends over us knowing what we need, knowing the amount of pressure we can bear, seeing what even we can’t see and applying His creative imagination coupled with deep compassion as He works.
The key is submitting to the process. He longs to heal. He specializes in mending and invites us to the mending table. Our responsibility is to allow Him to work as only He can.
Q: You write about the practice of sashiko (sah-SHEE-koh) and other decorative mending techniques. What do these practices symbolize to you?
I’ve filled a Pinterest board with examples of the creativity others have used to patch frayed hems or cuffs, patch holes in the knees of jeans, use broken china in jewelry, and practice the Japanese sashiko and boro mending stitches. Those delicate, precise, careful stitches from hundreds of years ago were meant to strengthen weak fabric on common items like a fishing coat or a pauper’s jacket. Now they hang in museums, admired by people like you and me who marvel at their workmanship and the beauty. Precision by the artisan created artwork from a mundane mending task. I’m overwhelmed by the comparisons here to how the process of our soul mending doesn’t always feel good — sometimes like a thousand pinpricks — and it often takes longer than we think it should. However, the end result can be an encouragement to someone else, possibly many years later.
Q: What is the significance of the phrase “hemmed in hope”?
Everything I write, fiction or nonfiction, has hope at its core. Jesus came because of our need for hope. It’s my prayer readers will close the books I write or leave a speaking event or even a private conversation they’ve had with me with renewed confidence, embracing the message, “I can’t unravel. I’m hemmed in hope.”
To keep up with Cynthia Ruchti, visit www.cynthiaruchti.com. You can also become a fan on Facebook (Cynthia Ruchti) or follow her on Twitter (@cynthiaruchti).