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You can repair anything

Even the fragile contruction of a spiderweb

It seems impossible, but American artist Nina Katchadourian decided to offer the spiders in a Finnish forest some help by mending their broken webs. The contents of her repair kit: red yarn, scissors, tweezers and glue.

She repaired the webs by inserting short bits of red yarn directly into the web. Sometimes she starched the threads, which made them easier to work with. The short threads were held in place by the stickiness of the spider web itself; longer threads were reinforced by dipping the tips into white glue. She continued until the whole web was repaired or up to the point where it could not longer hold the weight of the threads.

In the process, Katchadourian often caused further damage when the tweezers got tangled in the web or when her hands brushed up against it by accident.

Mended spiderweb #8 Fish patch, Nina KatchadourianMended spiderweb #8 Fish patch, Nina Katchadourian
Mended spiderweb #8 Fish patch, Nina Katchadourian

The morning after the first patch job, Katchadourian discovered a pile of red threads lying on the ground below the web. At first she assumed the wind had blown them out; on closer inspection it became clear that the spider had repaired the web to perfect condition using its own methods, throwing the threads out in the process. The repairs were always rejected by the spider and discarded, usually during the course of the night, even in webs that looked abandoned.

The rejected patches retained their form, although in a somewhat "wilted" condition without the rest of the web to suspend and stretch them. She framed the patches and exhibited them.
She even did some advertising for her new, somewhat improbable, but poetic repair service.

The original repair kit is now on show at Platform21.