Recycled materials in creative endeavours


A friend here, with whom I am doing some basic beading classes just now, has this figurine in her living room – she bought it in Johannesburg, South Africa a few years ago.

On a coffee table in her living room, it stands about 2 ft high, and the inner core is dried grass or straw bound into the long cone shape. Most if not all the materials used to create the costume the doll wears are from recycled waste and discarded household things such as clothing and packaging. Beading, which would probably have been bought, cheaply, has been applied sparsely but with great effect of a pattern. More fine beads suggest the hair lying over the top of the head, then nose and eyes. Black and yellow wool have been loosely plied together, and when wrapped produce a texture that looks remarkably like a knitted or printed pattern on the shirt or sweater the figure is wearing.

What a contrast to the current ‘bead the heck out of it’ fad prevailing in the art quilting world just now, with the impressionable masses amongst us utterly agog at learning of the literally 100’s of 1,000s of beads covering at least one large award winning quilt in a recent show. IMHO, “Less is more”, every time.

In a possibly slightly over-romanticised reputation from yesteryear, today quiltmaking hold an important place among domestic crafts involving recycled materials, utilising feed sacks, the best parts of old clothes , oddments and scraps from dressmaking, and all that stuff – including the folk art quilts from various parts of the world in the manner of Australian Waggas. In the highly visible major part of the Quilting Industry in Europe, UK, USA Australia, NZ and South Africa principally, western textile manufacturers produce several collections of new fabric designs per year especially for quilters, including fabrics printed to look like the hand dyed fabrics many home dyers now produce. In first world countries the result is that it has now become the exception rather than the norm to make a new quilt from pre-used fabrics, regrettably. Posted by Picasa

One Response to “Recycled materials in creative endeavours”

  1. margaret says:

    “Perfection exists not when nothing more can be added in, but when nothing more can be taken out” (Antoine de Saint-Expury). Yes, less is more, and so very much in the developed world is excess, and waste.

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