Cause everything old is new again.
- Peter Allan, 1974
If you’ve every taken a class with me or talked to me for 30 seconds about a textile or fiber-related topic, I’m 99% positive I’ve said something along the lines of “…textiles are my passion...” And it’s true. Creating work through the use of textiles and fiber is one of the things that gets me out of bed in the morning.
When you’re passionate about something, it means that you become very aware of both the great things about it and the not so great things. And sometimes, fixing the not so great things becomes a part of your passion too.
One of the negative sides of the textile industry is waste. Producing textiles— whether it be fabric, yarn, or your favorite t-shirt— can use a vast amount of depleting resources and create waste. Textile production is one of the leading industries in pollution and it’s getting worse with the Fast Fashion movement.
As I have seen the statistics become scarier over time in terms of the damage that is happening to our earth because of this thing that I love so deeply, I recognize that I have choice. As I move forward in my studio practices, I can either ignore what’s happening and contribute to the damage or I can try to help fix it.
This is where responsible design and stash busting comes into play for me. I am a firm believer that beautiful things can be created from materials that already exist. Materials that have been discarded. Sure, it’s super nice to create a new thing from shiny, new materials, but only designing in that way creates demand for new materials and— in many cases— continues to feed the pollution beast.
I want to use what I have. I want to use second hand materials. And if I have to get new materials, I want to attempt to source them well. That’s how I go about designing the work produced in my studio and this conviction is showcased in my growing collection Found Objects. Each of these pieces are made with a mixture of second hand yarns and other materials I’ve had in my studio for years. Yes, years.
My goal is to be a part of a movement that helps change the scope of how we as creatives approach designing our work. New work doesn’t always have to be made with new materials. Can we as artists amend the damage our work can potentially make by designing and creating in a different way?
I think so. Everything old can be new again.
ps. You can read up on my tips for designing within limits and using what you have here.