Tuesday, 12 March 2019

giving my own halo a bit of a polish...


Steam is coming out of my ears again…Two weeks ago I decided to bite a bullet I’ve been dodging for ages and get on Instagram. With the bullet lodged in my teeth I’ve been enthusiastically signing myself up to all the interesting sewing peeps and tags. Theres masses and masses of tags for sustainability, ethical sewing, recycling, upcycling….rah de rah. However I soon had that horrible sinking feeling you get when you scratch the surface a bit and find your million carat diamond ring is a chip of ornery glass. On closer investigation its apparent so many of them are just green washing pretenders.

I call this the Kermit Syndrome, cos its hard to be green….

Sigh….there is no point in spending my life screeching like a banshee and pointing my claw. I think the best thing I can do is try to regularly remind people what the issues are and educate, educate, educate….

Big point I want to remind people about today is the virtue of buying and consuming local. Buy things that are produced as close to home as possible. You might hope that a big shiny halo is lighting up over your head if you buy something made in a third world country by a village artisan….but if it had to travel 10,000km in big jet plane half away across the world to end up in your high street gift shop….then it’s neither ethical or sustainable. Though I’ll concede its probably a tiny bit more virtuous than buying something plastic from Kmart made in a ginormous polluting Chinese factory…

I don’t want to lecture or harangue and least of all paint myself as a shiny beacon of virtue. Let me own here I continue to buy things and do things that contribute to our waste and pollution problems. But I do it consciously and in other ways try to compensate for those decisions. So by all means if you want to buy something you’re well aware is over packaged, made from synthetic materials and produced in dubious circumstances in a third world country and you don’t care, or think the consequences are somebody elses responsibility to fix – go right ahead and enjoy your purchase. You will dismiss anything I have to say here as the demented ranting of an old hippie crone who fried her brain on illicit substances…(!!!???)

This is the main source of where I get fabrics and clothes to upcycle into the garments I make.

This is a picture of Vinnies Murrurundi, where I was an hour ago sourcing some stuff to upcycle. I like the way Vinnies obviously don't spend a lot on pretentious presentation of the shop front!








Inside the shopfittings and displays are just as unpretentious!





A cabinet of goodies. I get lots of beads, plastic and metal components to upcycle into adornments from this area





After 15 minutes this is my collected booty - a green cotton rug and a magnificent piece of vintage blue/beige brocade from the dog blanket pile @ $1 a piece, 6 skeins of knitting yarn @ $3, a brass bangle for 50c,  2 metres of cotton batik fabric @ $2,  4-5 metres of beaded trim @ $2, the 5x china bowls @ $3, jumper @ $2.....total spent $14.50




wow, pretty china!



The area for sheets and doona covers. I get most of my fabrics for sampling for $2-5 from what is offered here. Sometimes I come across really special ones that have been suitable for lining or making an entire art garment, with the addition of stenciling, applique, stitching etc....



the lovely volunteer Vinnies check out lady showing a jumper I bought

When I got home I added the bowls to my kitchen cabinet of wholly thrift shop collected kitchen ware, except I must confess the glazed dinner plate on the far right is from a 6 piece dinner setting that was a Xmas gift from a friend.





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If you are interested in buying an artwork or booking a commission, please email me at pearl@upstairs-art.com.au