There is so much clothing thrown away around the world the practice just has to stop. Fast fashion and trendy styles are killing the environment. One way each of us can help this world problem is to be creative and find uses for what is thrown away. I purchased this gorgeous sweater the other day at a thrift shop. My intent was to reclaim the fabric in it to give it a second chance. One less sweater in the landfill.
After first disassembling the sweater into parts, it was time to put it through a first fulling. That simply means that using water, soap and agitation the sweater weave will close up and shrink in size. The fiber label on this sweater said it was 88% wool. I took a gamble that the woven stripe areas were the other 12%. It was a gamble that paid off. It shrank about 50% and resulted in a thick wool fabric.
I can’t wait to use this gorgeous wool in a project and not waste even one tiny piece of it.
When I explore surface design I want to go beyond commercial products. There are some great commercial ones out there and you can do some amazing things with them. But just like commercially produced fabric designs there is a limit to creativity. I like to dye and paint and print my own fabrics for one of a kind art work. Sometimes I start with a commercial fabric because I don’t ever want to waste something. But what do I use for printing and stenciling?
Here are a few new tools in my tool box for this. These things all were destined for the trash or the recycle bin, depending on their number. When you think of surface design you see these as tools rather than trash. Oh, that black wooden piece I picked up at a sale and I am anxious to see the design from it. The blue container is from mushrooms, of course an empty spool, the clear plastic is from cookies and the other piece is from bottles of fizzy water.
Here is a close up of the fizzy water plastic. I know this is going to be a favorite. It will produce both positive and negative prints depending on whether I use it to stamp or stencil.
I haven’t had time to play with all these yet. I have some deadlines for exhibitions coming up. I wanted to share since it has been a really long time since I posted. Here is a finished piece going to Carol Jones Frank for our small art exchange group on Facebook. I used the empty spool in gold ink for some subtle stamping. It gave just the right amount of another layer of complexity.
It was a mild winter and spring is early. My woad stayed green so I will have a bumper crop this year. I thought it best to use some of the leaves stored in my freezer. A funny thing happens with woad when heat is used. The indigotin present in the leaves turns shades of pink and maroon. When a dye vat is made with woad it is a beautiful blue. This was the blue dye plant in Europe before trade routes opened to the orient for other indigo sources.
2 upcycled silk blouses were layered with frozen woad leaves, then processed in the pressure cooker. The strong dye (indigotin) penetrated all layers of the bundles leaving full and ghost prints. I love the depth created with the leaves this way. Be sure to right click for an enlarged image to see the detail.
My granddaughter Priyanka has an American Girl doll who’s name is Nora. Since this grandma knows a thing or two about stitching I received a wish list for clothes for Nora. Priyanka’s mother is Indian and their large extended community frequently has formal functions they attend. Poor Nora only has western clothing so I thought it was time that she have her own eastern style clothing so she can attend weddings and functions with Ms. P.
The perfect thing to make Nora’s clothing for these affairs is an upcycled sari top.
The one I chose is a highly embellished silk piece. I love the burgundy edge that goes into gray and then white.
I had to carefully remove darts and seams so that I didn’t cut into any of the threads of the embellishments.
These are the pieces after gently washing them in tepid water and baby shampoo. The next thing is to cut the pieces from my patterns and fit them on a china doll I have that is the same measurements as Nora. I’ll post the results in a few days.
And to make this quilt related, there is no way the leftovers from this piece will go into the trash. They are bound to be included in an art quilt in the future. I am linking to Off the Wall Friday where other interesting things from other bloggers can be seen. Check it out!