Turning Green

I have always had a passion for environmentally friendly action, and have had a few items within my shop that would fall within this category, such as this red riding hood bunting, made on organic cotton.

019But I recently decided that I needed to make the whole shop as eco friendly as possible.  This means a lot of restructuring.  I have a lot of fabric that simply does not fall within the remits of eco friendly, so will be holding a fabric sale in the next week or so, to sell off the larger pieces of fabric.

My focus will, therefore, now be to create items from second hand/vintage fabrics, scraps or waste fabric, or organic or fairtrade fabric. Along with some innovative uses of wool.

I have recently also been creating artwork.  Needlefelting onto a wool blanket with ethically sourced merino wool.  This has been a wonderful creative outlet, on which I would like to expand.  This piece, was recently in an exhibition for eco friendly art, in Banks Mill Studios, Derby.  beepicture

I have been able to turn some of them into blank cards, which would suit a myriad of occasions.

sunset card4I have also been creating artwork, from the small bits of yarn left over from previous handspun projects.  This woven wall hanging was inspired by the layers of earth, and has been finished off with snowflake obsidian beads.     weaving3

I have also had access to fabric that would have been destined for the bin, from the retail industry.  Using these scraps, I have been able to create various bohemian style garlands, which have proven rather popular. raggybunting5The creative floodgates are now open, as I will be creating more one off pieces, and looking at fabrics in a completely different light.

Being eco friendly, does not, of course, stop with the products.  The packaging is just as important.  So my packaging is now recycled, or biodegradable.  But I want to go one step further.  I want to work towards being a zero waste business.  I am not sure exactly how close I will be able to get, as there are things like the plastic strips from the biodegradable polybags, that I will have to contend with, and the plastic spools from spent cotton reels, but if I can work imaginatively, hopefully it will be something I can ultimately achieve.

There will be some of the previous designs still available, whilst I use up the fabrics that are not in quantities that are sellable, but I am hoping, that within the next 6 months I will be have made the change over completely to being an eco-friendly business.  My products can all be found over at my Etsy shop, but also over at www.eco-create.co.uk , which is a wonderful gateway to products all with an eco-friendly quality.

Season bunting

As it is Easter Sunday (just about) I guess this is a good time to introduce the seasonal bunting that I create.  These are usually created as mini buntings, but can be created as larger 2.5m buntings too.  I currently have all seasons catered for, although some designs may change over time, according to fabrics and inspiration.  Inspiration comes through a combination of the natural world, and the fabrics I find.

Spring has seen two different buntings.  The original was this 2.5m bunting, but once it sold I had to create an alternative, as I couldn’t get the fabric anymore.005So I then came up with this mini bunting, which currently for sale here.  Which features a bluebell, a birds nest, a daffodil, and tree in blossom.

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Moving onto summer there is a lovely 2.5m bunting, which would be beautiful for a garden party, or even just to brighten up a house.  It features a butterfly, some flowers on a vine, a stylised sun, and a tree in fruit.  It is a one off bunting, and is available for purchase here.

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Autumn brings some beautiful warm tones, with hand dyed fabric, and a pumpkin, mushrooms, a hedgehog, and tree losing it’s leaves.  This is a mini bunting, which would look lovely hanging over a mantle piece as the nights draw in, and can be ordered here.016Finally, Winter.  I created a “snow” bunting, with beautiful ice blue fabric, and cute little snowmen on the end flags.

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Whilst the original is still for sale, it has inspired a commission for a bunting spelling out “let it snow”

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I am always open to commissions or suggestions for a seasonal bunting, if you have an idea you would like me to create, please contact me.

An inspirational talk – Julia O’Connell

This last week I went to our monthly Guild meeting.  The Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers meet at Stratford College, usually on the third Friday of the month.  This month we had a visiting speaker, Julia O’Connell, to talk about the “Godiva Awakes” project that was part of the culteral olympiad, where 12 regions of the country create an object of art to represent their region.  Godiva Awakes represented the West Midlands.

Julia, is a textile artist, and is drawn to incorporating peoples stories into her work.  I was particularly struck by the very emotive straight jacket she had produced based on a man’s experience of 1960′s childrens homes.  The straight jacket had his description of his experience screen printed onto it.

Julia was approached to create a coat that would draw together peoples stories from over all over the West Midlands.  However, this was no ordinary coat, this was to clothe a 5 metre high animatronic puppet that was going to walk or ride from Coventry to Westminster.

(picture from Coventry Observer)

Julia had various artists go to different areas to collate stories of peoples experiences in industry, they then brought back their stories to act as the inspiration for the designs on the coat.  The frill around the neck of the coat, is based on a glove forms from Worcester.  Each one cut out from lightweight material so that it had movement as Godiva walked.  There were many embroidered patterns too throughout the coat of glove forms, and buttons made from leather.

Smethwich provided the inspiration for the glass cufflinks. The Potteries gave rise to some stunning applique work based on the topside view of teapots, along with the various colours of glazes that have been used over the years for another part of the coat.  Beautiful embroidered beetles were found in various places on the coat, which came from the story from the Black Country, where children used to collect beetles to play with and race.  A more modern industry was also represented, based on the Oliver Twins from Leamington Spa, who are part of the gaming industry, so pacman was there, along with technical circuit board like maps.

There is an element to the coat of the story continuing to unfold.  Rather than protecting the coat from the elements (of which there were many last summer) they added to the story of the coat, so the rain made the collar curl, and the colour of the coat changed as it got soaked by the rain.

The lining of the coat had various screen printings of Godiva on, along with 7,000 tailors tacks, which I thought was an inspired idea.  To go along with the stories intertwined within the coat, there was a tailors tack for each person who had contributed to the project, from engineers creating the puppet, to investors, from artists, to the people who told their stories. Then as Godiva made her way to London, some of these tacks would fall out, leaving a trace, a legacy of her being there.  This project took 3 years to be realised, I can imagine the legacy that it made on those involved has been immense, but it too leaves an impression, and acts as an inspiration to all those who have seen it.  My words cannot do it justice, but needless to say, I have  collected some of those tailors tacks that had fallen out at the talk to add to my sketchbook.