Tuesday, March 2, 2010

from a green planet

Here are some skirts I've been making, photographed by my illustrious live-in child protegee. The fabric I used for the skirts is new but the sashes are all made from vintage or recycled materials and I've trimmed each one in front with a button-down shirt collar or pair of cuffs.

As the text for this post I've decided to share the copy I just sent to Crafty Planet in my own home state of Minnesota.
I've been working on my contribution to the upcoming book Crafty Planet Goes Green. In it I have a project for a Virtuous Baby Quilt. I recently sent my updated bio and artist statement, plus answers to the editor's questions, for a possible artist bio section in the book. I thought it would make a nice way to get acquainted/reacquainted with any of you infrequent visitors to this here blog.

"Sarah O. Green has been honing her craft for 30 years. She was taught by her mother to sew clothes with a sewing machine at age 10 and started creating her own wardrobe at age 12 when she stole her dad’s t-shirts to make a mini-dress.

"As an art major in college Sarah began to see the expressive potential of home furnishings, though her professors thought she should stick to painting and photography. In 2006 she founded Mountain Ash Design, under which she sustainably creates a variety of one-of-a-kind wearable and functional art objects.

"Since her adolescence Sarah has secretly harbored a desire to be a fashion designer. The enthusiastic response to her current line of retro-style aprons and apron-inspired wrap skirts has been encouraging. When composing her work, Sarah tries to channel her Victorian grandmother, who was a master of many textile arts and made wonderful quilts from her store of diverse scraps.

Artist statement:
"I am inspired by quilters from the 19th and early 20th centuries who produced beautiful and dynamic work from the limited fabric choices they had. Like quilters of my grandmother’s generation who reused materials that were readily available to them, it is important to me to find and use beautiful quality materials that might otherwise be wasted.

"While I do use some new designer fabrics that I find particularly appealing, I try to use recycled materials as much as possible. I especially like to use woven cotton button-down shirts and older fabrics resurrected from the cast off fabric collections of others. I enjoy the nuances that the history and uniqueness of these fabrics add to my finished work.

"I strive for simplicity in composition; to marry fabrics in unexpected, humorous and beautifully harmonious ways, with attention to colors and associations evoked by prints. The fabrics I use often depict scenes or characters that take the viewer to another time and place.

"I enjoy including an obviously recycled decorative element in my work when I can. I want people to experience the realization, 'Hey, this used to be a shirt!'"

This is honestly the best picture I have of the project I sent to Crafty Planet. I sent my finished quilt for the publishers to photograph and take to publicity events, without photographing the finished piece. What was I thinking? Well, I am getting the quilt back, so I'll have a chance eventually, and I hope to have access to the pics they take of it for the book. This picture is of the components of the quilt: four button-down shirts I got at local thrift stores, a pair of vintage gingham shorts and a vintage dish towel. At least two shirt pockets ended up on the front of the quilt.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, back to skirts...
(feel free to click on any picture to get a closer look at the details, or get a really good look at the prints towards the end of this post.)

Q & A time with Crafty Planet Goes Green:

When did you decide to “Go Green”? Why?
"I come from a long line of frugal Yankees who I believe inspired my tendency to make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials happen to be available. My parents have been environmental activists since the 1960s so I’ve had a conscious awareness of “green issues” my whole life. There are so many useful textiles languishing around out there that can be given new life and kept out of the waste stream."

What is the best / most satisfying thing about working with recycled materials?
"I have always been intrigued by the mysterious history that a pre-loved bit of textile has, whether it’s a garment or a piece of vintage yardage. Just the look of vintage prints evokes certain associations that are fun to play with."

What has been your favorite project design or material to work with? Why?
"I love to make quilts and aprons because I have a lot of freedom in terms of the unusual fabric combinations I can get away with. "


Simple Dreams said...

I've been following your blog for some time and enjoy it so much. I particularly like how you include shirt collars and cuffs. I use thrifted cottons, shirts / skirts/ dresses and have a pile of collars and cuffs I have been saving that I should just send to you. I have been working on some ideas for the placket. I too have been making quilts and also have an etsy shop where I have been selling my quilts thru there. Also have been invited to include a quilt made from repurposed scarves for Lark Publishing, they are in the process of publishing that book. I just barely got pics of my quilt before shipping in order to meet the deadline. I originally was going to make a smaller project, one of the editors asked if I would make a small quilt with scarves so I was scrambling to gather enough scarves to complete the project. If given the enough time I would have chosen a different color scheme, but worked with what I had, you can see my not so great photos at simpledream2.blogspot.com. When I get finished with these last 3 custom quilts I'll go thru my collars/cuff pile and take a photo. If it's something you could use I'd be happy to mail them to you. Anyone can tell by my STASH that I can't bare to throw out fabric "scraps".
Keep posting the beautiful pics.

Sarah O. Green said...

I love donations! Anyone is always free to send cast-off textiles my way. I will put them to good use and a part of you will be woven into the resulting creations, making them extra special : >

I can provide my address through etsy. Send me a conversation or provide a link to your etsy shop and I'll get in touch.

Simple Dreams said...

Hi Sarah,
Got your emails and when I get these 3 quilts done I HAVE to clean/organize my sewing room and will gather what collars and cuffs that I have and would be glad to send them your way. I have your address and will keep you posted on when I get these ready to send.
Just knowing they will be used is great. I'll keep in touch.

Sarah O. Green said...

great! have fun with your projects, Lisa.

when will I clean/organize my workroom??? I don't know!