Reusing materials, objects and waste to create textiles is a very interesting process, not only because we are giving a second life to the material but also because it gives history to the new piece, a sense of a past life.
I would like to show you some exciting artists that work with found, recycled or second hand materials in new and interesting ways.
African artist El Anatsui, is a Ghanaian sculptor, some of his pieces are exhibited in the British Museum in London. He has drawn particular international attention for his iconic ‘bottle-top installations’, distinctive large-scale assemblages of thousands of pieces of aluminium sourced from alcohol recycling stations and sewn together with copper wire, transformed into metallic cloth-like wall sculptures in a way that can “draw connections between consumption, waste, and the environment”.
Artist Natasha Kerr uses old photos from her own family album and combines them with vintage fabrics and trims to create her distinctive brand of recycled textile art.
The stories embedded in both the black and white/sepia images and the fabrics used give Natasha’s work a depth that is very appealing to the viewer and triggers an emotional response.
Another interesting artist, Susan Stockwell, her work ranges from tiny intricate studies to huge elaborate and complex installations. She uses a combination of sculpture, drawing, painting, collage, stitch and weave to create politically charged work exploring issues of trade, history and ecology.
She uses source materials that may have started life in domestic or industrial settings, but that are common-place and familiar, such as maps and currency. These items are then recycled through manipulation and often fused together using stitch to become extraordinary pieces of art.
Louise Baldwin is a textile artist that also uses recycled materials and found objects. She combines hand and machine embroidery to create collaged wall hangings that she constructs from the waste of domestic packaging.
Louise’s artwork depicts the hectic nature of her own life. She gathers anything she can get her hands on from around the home, including card form toys, medication boxes, biscuit wrappers and layers them, building up the collage as she goes with the sewing machine. There is nothing pre-planned about this process.
Reusing waste and giving a second life to found objects its both a creative and eco friendly way of working. Have you thought of working that way before?
Also published on Medium.