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Surprising Discovery: Chicken Scissors Do Not Cut Fabric!

28 Nov

Yay! My experiment has yielded its first product – a basket out of plaited old t-shirts.

This attempt of mine to learn how to use    recycled materials proves to me once again, that for every idea that pops up there will be another two hundred that follow. It is the nature of creativity. As I said, the problem is not the lack of ideas but the lack of time and ability to execute them all, right-this-very-minute.

This thing that I am doing right now hasn’t just popped up in my head, at least not in theory. I have been playing with the idea of recycle reuse repurpose upcycle, but  at a slow pace. For a while now there has been a pile of mostly white t-shirts in my studio, waiting patiently for me to make something out of them, but some how the pile is always pushed aside in favor of some other activity.

One day I decided. Enough. Now is the time to act.

A while ago, on the internet I saw a plaited blue/grey carpet. I realized that the easiest place for me to start from would be there. Not with the carpet, but with the braid.

So I cut the only 6 colored shirts in the pile into strips. Sounds simple. Right? Wrong. Not When the only decent pair of scissors in the house are chicken scissors. After a bit of disappointing research, I discovered that the fact that they are adept at cutting chicken does not mean that they are proficient at cutting fabric.

I was left with only one option; my box cutter knife. In order to get nice, clean strips with a box cutter knife, this is what you need to do:

1.    Fold the shirt in half, length wise.

2.    Fix all the layers together with lines of pins.

3.    Use a ruler to lead the knife.

4.    Cut each strip in short segments in order to avoid the blade pulling the fabric.

Including all the experimentation, discoveries and system development, cutting the strips took a few hours.

Weaving the Plat was less straightforward than I expected – and while I was plaiting, I also needed to unravel the knots that were forming under the plaits. It wasn’t to bad, just surprising.

When I started making the braid I wasn’t sure where it would take me, and after a few hours of playing with the options I decided to go with a narrow and slightly taller basket.

Sewing the basket also held a unexpected element, and that was the amount of needles I broke while putting this basket together, also, that I flat nosed plier doesn’t loose its usefulness once it leaves the jeweler’s bench .


Stammering Prologue

27 Nov

I am not sure how to call what I doing here. Re-education? A quest in search of the new me? It is all so new, but the whole point is that everything here is old.

I guest the easiest way to define it would be to say that I am trying to rediscover creative joy, and the wealth of materials even if the materials are not “rich” in the formal sense of the word.

Two forces are behind this journey, and I am not sure which of them is the main motivation. The first, which could also be called the-kick-in-the-butt, is the force that motivates me into action from an urgent and existential point of view is the need to find a way to a new livelihood. How do I take myself, along with all of my skills, talents abilities and things that I love and turn them into a livelihood?

The second is my love of used objects, the lives they have lived and the lives they have accompanied. In the past few years, my love of old objects has been given further legitimization in the form of environmentalism, and like many others, I am trying to live a greener life. I wear second hand not only for financial reasons, but out of appreciation for the value of the material and the work invested – values that have become obsolete in our society.

Disposable. A synonym to just about every object we use. Objects have become worthless to us, and yet we continue to accumulate and acquire more and more of them.  As a result, the substance that these objects are made of has become of even lesser value than the objects themselves.

At one point, things used to mutate. If a sweater was to small, it was pulled out and  a new, more suitable garment was knit. Not today. Today we throw it into the trash and run off to the nearest store.

For the next year, I will be studying recycling, re-purposing reusing and up-cycling, and although I know where this journey starts, I have no Idea where it will end. One thing is for sure it will undoubtedly pass by a few old t-shirts and piles and piles of newspapers.