I love it when my work is transformative. If only it were so easy when the project is Me.
Not so very long ago, recycling was a way of life, not a trend. A surprising, if not charming, reminder of this wended itself my way at an antique shop in Brunswick, ME. A feed sack, of all things, was purposed for fiber art! Utterly functional in getting supplies to the farm, this beautiful coral cotton sack was printed with inks that are easily removed expressly for the purpose of allowing the cloth to become a dress, a curtain, a pair of knickers. It is a fabulous concept that I had never come across before. I’m completely enamored. As my husband and I continued our flea market hopping, as we are known to do, this fabulous thing that I had never been aware of before kept presenting itself. And I lost all control. I purchased every feed, salt, and growing ration sack from Woolwich to Bath. And now, to the studio. Must. Sew.
As a fiber lover, stash management is always an issue. Everything seems to have such intrinsic value. And that has only been getting worse for me as I’ve been exploring rug hooking and quilting. Every little tiny scrap is suddenly a representative of enormous value. I don’t want to throw anything away. This is especially true when I am working with vintage textiles, rugs, and linens. I love discovering the new life that lies hidden in an old tea towel or tattered rug, repurposing its charm into pillows, purses, and brooches. But what to do with the remains? Those leftover little pieces of antiquity that lie on the cutting table? This has become my personal challenge: find the latent purpose of these remnants of our forebears. They certainly wouldn’t have wasted a scrap, so why should I?
I’m still searching for a few more pieces of fabric to complement the background colors. Unfortunately, whenever I find the perfect piece of wool to work with, inevitably it is being worn as part of some lucky person’s ensemble (pants, skirts, etc.). A little inappropriate to get all grabby about it.
I had so much fun with the the Sunflower Hooked Pillow that I wanted to play more with the concept. These two pieces will be made up into petite mini pillows about 6″ square. My mind’s eye already sees them nestled among books and soaps and flowers or settled on a little person’s rocking chair. Both are hooked with strips of deconstructed clothing. One repeats the Sunflower’s color scheme. For the other I experimented with a background in various shades of milky tea and smoky lavender. I love the effect.
swatches of life get loved, used, worn out, discarded
to be collected again and treasured
the suit jacket grandpa wore to church every sunday
dad’s goofy pants he donned to support his favorite baseball team
your mother’s woolen skirt–the one you clung to when strangers came to the door
a rug made by drawing up loops of fabric or yarn through a foundation fabric such as burlap or linen to form a pattern.
a technique developed in the mid-1800s in N. America using bits of wool from old clothing and feed sacks for the foundation.
Sources: dictionary.com and Old Oaks Ranch.
When in doubt, count on chocolate. My homemade chocolates needed some packaging, and my dreams of repurposed ecofriendly gift treats were realized.