Recycled Exercise

For this exercise, as mentioned before, I wanted to only use items that still had no further use in their original form. I experimented with various items that I found in our recycling bin:

Tea bags I felt were a perfect starting point as they are very like fabric and are also a totally unusable item. I saved a few and emptied them and dried them on the radiator, then stitched them.

Stitched Tea Bags

Stitched Tea Bags

I really like the natural colour of the tea bags stitching them works pretty well. I think though that this technique would work well as a patching or repairing design detail. Not of course for structure or strength but purely as a visual element.

The next example I made was with the tape from a video tape. Very few videos are used any more most people don’t have recorders any more. I knitted it into a sample. I really like the industrial nature of the sample it looks quite mechanical with it’s almost metalic sheen.

Knitted Video Tape

Knitted Video Tape

I have enjoyed papier mache in the past and thought that this could be an obvious recycling project particularly for a sculptural sample but after considering the idea I thought I would try weaving paper then painting it with glue.

It worked better than I had expected and was a really good base for some stitching.

Woven Papier Mache

Woven and Stitched Papier Mache

With carefully considered and chosen papers I think that this could work really well. Perhaps texts with some idea or meaning interwoven or alternatively contrasting colours for example.

Stitched Woven Papier Mache Detail

Stitched Woven Papier Mache Detail

Digging around in my recycling it occured to me that some plastics can’t be recycled, particularly bread bags.  I decided to try knitting with them. I cut the plastic in a spiral formation from the opening so that I created one long piece as I worked I tied each bag to the next and then I used them to knit a couple of samples on large size 9mm needles.

Knitted Bread Bags

Knitted Bread Bags

I really loved the outcome. The colours have blended beautifully with patches left by the clear parts of the bags. This was a really wonderful discovery.

With the second sample I experimented by ironing it in a graduated way between sheets of baking paper.

Knitted Bread Bags then Ironed

Knitted Bread Bags then Ironed

Another eureka moment. This created a strong stiff fabric that could be used in a number of ways. Perhaps as a sculptural structure, it could be stitched. Whilst being ironed it could be heated into different shapes.

After this experiment I went back and crocheted some more video tape and experimented with it in the same way. This melted very differently but did create an interesting textural quality.

Crocheted Ironed Video Tape

Crocheted Ironed Video Tape

Crocheted Ironed Video Tape Back

Crocheted Ironed Video Tape Back

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