Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New for old

For some time now - maybe a couple of years - I've been reading, and admiring, the Spirit Cloth blog. Its author is US textile artist Jude Hill who describes herself in this way:
My style is based on layers, the nature of cloth, redefining traditional techniques, unconventional cloth construction, mending and the relationship of sewing to weaving. I call myself an alternative quilter and a folk artist (if I have to use the word artist)
Jude Hill uses recycled textiles and her work has a patina of age and past histories.I like her refusal to be pigeon-holed by craft categories - 'weaving', 'patchwork' or 'embroidery' and her 'what if' approach to her work. Spirit Cloth is an extreme example of process-driven craft.

Over time there's been a very positive response to her work and she now offers on-line classes for some of her techniques. I've just taken up her class on cloth-to-cloth weaving which is one of her ways of working that delights me. She uses strips of textiles, mainly torn or roughly cut, to weave smallish blocks that can then be combined with other similar blocks to make quilts or table pieces or simply left as they are. The woven bases are embellished with further layers of woven cloth, applique, stitching or quilting. It's not a craft that rates highly on producing a useful outcome but, as I've already mentioned, the process is engaging.

I've been working on the base for my first block:

Rag cloth 1

Jude Hill's use of recycled textiles comes from a deeply held anti-consumerist philosophy. While I admire her stance, I live my life differently. But I like the soft, worn quality of used textiles and I've always found it difficult to throw away clothes I've worn out - particularly when I've loved the fabrics. So, my block so far is made from the remnants of two old pairs of linen pants worn to holes, a stained and torn batik cloth I've had for decades, and backed by an old sheet from my mothers's house - torn, but saved because of its hem-stitched edging. I'll soon run out of fabrics I can recycle, so I imagine that if this interest continues I'll be visiting second-hand shops for suitable scraps.

Let's see where this takes me.

For my knitting friends - don't fear this means an abandonment of knitting. My Sempervivum shawl is currently blocking and I've just cast on for a new cardigan for my grand-daughter. I just have more time to fill with such activities than I used to have.


Sel and Poivre said...

Oh Lyn this is so lovely!

Brendaknits said...

What a fabulous creative idea. Soemthing that I could do with my grand daughter on a small scale.

Lynne said...

Looks great! I fell into quilting due to having more time!

DrK said...

oh! sewing type activity! this looks gorgeous, and what a great idea. i cant wait to see how this turns out. i've pretty well abandoned machine sewing, its so boring to DO, but hand sewing i think i could get into.