Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The art of making do

A thought has lingered in my mind for some time now about our consumerist nature. I find it so easy to be seduced by new and beautiful fabrics both as an artist and as a collector of pretty things. When I immersed myself back into my textile work I really struggled with pulling out old panels of fabric that I had printed, dyed, stitched etc. to re-use. I had this mentality that if I was using my old pieces then I wasn't moving forward artistically. But the more I pondered on this the more I came to resolve that I need not start with new cloth but instead work with what is already available to me; a kind of reclaiming of the past. And why should a piece of cloth that has been dyed and printed and stitched upon, but is for the most part useless, why should it be left to wither in a box somewhere if it can find a new lease on life by being recycled into something new. After all, the dyeing and the printing and the stitching are still my own work and ideas can be recycled too. That's not to say that I am still making works based on the same concepts that birthed these works, but rather my concepts have evolved and I am challenging myself to bring these new ideas to fruition without the need for new cloth. Why must every painting start with a white canvas?
For example, the other day I found some beautiful linen that I resist dyed about 11 years ago now. At the time I was designing a man's tunic and so the linen is cut into the pattern pieces and has sat like that all this time. I can pretty well determine that I'm not going to finish that project now given that the husband thinks it's not really suited to his style (whatever that may be!) and I have no use for a man's tunic. But what a shame to waste such lovely fabric! I contemplated recutting the pattern to fit me, but can't really be bothered with that, so I think I will instead cut it up and use it for an art piece, perhaps a pieced quilt or such.
This is just one example of many, and I'm really looking forward to challenging my creativity by recycling what I have at hand rather than buying new pretty white cloth. Over the past weeks I have thought of ways to recycle more in my life. It's really disapointing to me that my local shire won't provide recycling bins for us out here. Perhaps the cost of running the truck out here out weighs the benefit of recycling, who knows. But I hoard all I can to take into town to the big bins, but still I want to do more. I have some ideas for plastic bags so stay tuned.
Today while nursing a bad headache and a large basket of laundry Martha was making these. Struck me as something fun to do with the kids while I brain bash them about recycling.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I'm not sure how I got here now... maybe via Peta's and I got to her from somewhere else too... but I love your ideas.

Yesterday I was suddenly seized by the need to make sculptures out of junk... although we do have recycling collections here not everyone manages to get everything in the bins...

I love textiles but haven't done much with them recently... I like so many art forms that that has to be true of most of them!