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Needle arts
Hounds tooth wool with hole to be repaired, Needle arts, 2016; Toni Columbo; Boston, Massachusetts; wool; Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Hounds tooth wool with hole to be repaired, Needle arts, 2016
Toni Columbo
Boston, Massachusetts
Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Back of repair to woolen; Needle arts; 2016: Boston, Massachusetts; wool; 4
Repaired hounds tooth woolen from the front; Needle arts; 2016: Boston, Massachusetts; 4
Close-up of reweaving technique; Needle arts; 2015: Boston, Massachusetts
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Toni Columbo
Boston, MA
Web Site
When is a traditional art at its best when it can't be seen? Toni Columbo excels at invisible reweaving, French weaving, over weaving, and reknitting; all are traditional ways of repairing holes and damages by hand as imperceptibly as possible in woven and knitted fabrics. Threads or a frayed piece of fabric are harvested from an inconspicuous spot on a jacket, pants, coat, or sweater, and rewoven thread by thread, into the damaged area, rendering it virtually invisible.

Toni learned needle arts from her mother, who in turn, learned from her mother. Toni was born and raised in Boston's North End, and she maintains a vital connection to this Italian American community. She is highly regarded by customers and by high end retail stores for her excellent skill in mending cherished items of clothing. Using the skills passed down through her family, Toni repairs and restores suits, sweaters, coats, couches, tapestries, and uniforms (including Babe Ruth's 1926 New York Yankees baseball jersey). In addition to working on heirlooms, Toni keeps up with the new weaves and fibers used in today's textiles. To work on these micro fabrics, some containing between 100-125 threads per inch, Toni uses a high powered surgeon's loupe.

Toni Columbo was named a Traditional Arts Finalist in the 2016 Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship Program.
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