Friday, 5 August 2016

5 in 5 - August 2016 - A Sadness of Sewing Machines

Welcome to '5 in 5' where on the 5th of
each month I post 5 photos that I have
taken in 5 minutes.

Sometimes I plan my monthly photos in advance, other times I happen upon an idea unexpectedly. I like when this happens because there is a thrill with spontaneity, but this time there was also a sunken heart as it was a sad sight I came across.  A graveyard of sewing machines.  I kid you not.  One piled against the antique shop wall, and others into a crate.   

But even in this sad state I saw beauty.  The classic black bodywork with painted decoration that softens the metal and makes each machine individual. And the intricate workings that would have once beat a rhythm as the needle cast its thread.

Who would have sewn on these machines?
Was it used for pleasure, to make something that would be loved?
Or would it be a means to providing an income or essentials? 

Lots of questions passed by as I stood looking at these discarded piles.  Some had labels, no doubt from when they were in better condition and possible to sell and restore. Now? I only see sculpture, or rust to take prints with.  Or maybe a poem or story in the making.  It did spark another idea, and if anything comes from that I will let you know.

How about you? Do you like to plan photos or act on spontaneity? 


It is always fun to have company in this photo challenge so a big thank you to Mary-Lou, Borqna, Maggie, Joy, Melanie, Gill, Karen and Eileen for taking part last month.

And YOU would be very welcome to join in too, so if you feel inspired here is what you do:

1.  Choose a location.
2.  Have your camera ready.

3.  Set a timer for 5 minutes (I use my mobile phone).
4.  Take as many photos you can until the time is up.
5.  Choose 5 photos to download and share by using the link tool below.  

   Please note:
You have until the 25th of the month to add your photos to the link and you can take  your photos any time. They do not have to be taken or posted on 5th!
If you would like more information please go to the original post here where you will find more.


  1. Love these photos. Maybe inspiration of Poetry of Decay in November

    1. What a fabulous idea Bernice!! I dithered about booking the course because I was not inspired - but you have sparked something here that excites me.
      I love sewing, it has huge connection and happy memories with my nan, and I love machinery and industry. I'm sorted!! I'll go back with my camera to take more photos and to ask if I can take some rubbings. I might ask for some rusty bits if they are loose too! Woohoo!!!

  2. Great photos - such a memory. I think my Gran had one similar & she could really create wonderful clothes on it. Umm & we think we have the technology thing all worked out (col). I will be joining in later today ...

    1. We might have technology and machines that do amazing things but they do lack the charm of the old black Singer machines.

  3. Comment with permission from Julia Prohaska:
    These photos are amazing Sandie! I always have so many questions that come to mind when I see old items, those that appear to have been discarded especially. The craftsmanship of the original machine, how it was used, who used it. It always feel like more out of necessity than pleasure, until you commented about that above. Why I always think it was all drudgery I'm unsure. In part it has to be because so much of what we need is so easily accessible to us. It's a horrible mentality thinking that the time & commitment would not be pleasurable. When I actually think about it, the slower times, commitment and experience, pride in creating out of need, that is actually so much more empowering than the instant gratification we have come to know. Very thought provoking, thank you for that!

    1. Thank you Julia, I really enjoyed reading your comment and totally agree. Instant gratification bears little in comparison to the satisfaction of knowing you have spent time and care in achieving something.
      I am currently knitting dish cloths and really enjoy the simple occupation of time. I could easily go to the shop and buy synthetic ones for very little money, but every time I wash up using my hand made cloth there is a sense of connection and pride. I want to crochet my next one (I'm a long time beginner!) and it occurred to me this is a good way to practice.

  4. They are indeed a sad sight and my thought like yours was I wonder what they have produced over the years. There is a shop in Bath that has a lot of sewing machines displayed on the wall. I can't remember what it is called because it is a trendy young shop. I am pretty sure it is a chain so probably the same elsewhere.
    In answer to your question I do think ahead about what I shall take but the spontaneous are often the best.

  5. With relation to my last comment the store is called All Saints. I will have to check next time if it is still there and whether they still have the display.

    1. Thank you for the link Maggie, that's interesting. I did find a shop that had shelves of sewing machines lining the window, this was in Nottingham. I wonder if it is the same, since you think it might be a chain?

  6. I agree with both points: it's a sad sight, and yet the photos are beautiful! They remind me of my mother's Singer which I gave away years ago, but wish I had kept. I learned to sew on it, and sewed all through high school, getting my first machine when I was in college. Like you, I sometimes plan my shots, and other times it's rather spontaneous. This month I know WHERE I'll take them, but not WHAT will end up in the collection.

    1. It's sad when we sometimes part with something then look back with regret. I had an old Singer tucked away for years, it might work with a service and tlc, but some of the fittings were quite loose and it didn't sew very well. I always hoped I would have somewhere I could display it, since I do think these look lovely on a window ledge or cupboard. I have given it to my daughter for safe keeping meantime. We both stroke it occasionally!
      I look forward to seeing your photos Karen, intriguing!

  7. Sorry, but what I feel when I look at these machines is frustration..there are plenty of charities refurbishing machines for use in Africa. They could have had a whole other life.

  8. It is sad to see these machines, I have just read what Sian said and it is so true. I do wonder what was produced with the machines.

    I don't always plan my photos when I take part usually if I go somewhere I will take many photos in a short time thinking about 5 in 5.

  9. Please excuse me for my insolence - 12 photos -
    but I'm still very excited about our trip.

  10. It is indeed sad to see such lack of use (I'm with Sian on this) but the rusty bits and sense of ageing is also very poignant and attractive. What a great subject!


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