Tag Archives: Ele Cook

Sew 358 – To guides and mentors

Jane Milburn wears upcycledWhen we think of creativity, most think of art with a capital A, when really it is about having a sense of festivity, fun and playfulness. One of my academic friends said the sense of play is what she most enjoys about Sew it Again because we need more creative play in our lives and workplaces.

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron quotes Stephen Nachmanovitch: “Creative work is play. It is free speculation using the materials of one’s chosen form” and C. G. Jung: “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”  Continue reading

Sew 139 – Clothing recommission

Upcycled cotton shiftSome people wear vintage clothing well – but there are other people who don’t and some garments that make you feel out-of-date.

Such was the case with this lovely brushed cotton frock which my friend Ele gave me to update for her as Sew 139, see below.

But first, I’ve included a photo of this quick and easy refresh Ele achieved for her verandah chairs using large op-shop bought t-shirts and a bit of hand-sewing using blanket stitch one evening.

This upcycle just goes to show you don’t need a sewing machine, you don’t need heaps of time or money – you just need a little motivation and effort to transform an old sofa with $25 worth of cast-off clothing.

upcycled t-shirts become chair covers

Continue reading

Sew 126 – Linen suit gets update

upcycled suitSetting up the Upcycled exhibition at Pandora Gallery in Coolah has helped consolidate the purpose and messaging around my 365-day Sew it Again campaign. Once people think about how our relationship with clothing has changed over the years, they understand why we need to adjust our behaviour to reduce textile waste.

Because country people live close to nature and are naturally resourceful, they’re really receptive to the upcycling concept. We workshopped the Upcycled values for a sign on the gallery wall and keeping adding more – they include being mindful, thrifty, ethical, resourceful, sustainable, creative, original, zero waste, eco-friendly.  Continue reading

Sew 125 – An upcycled upcycle

history skirtUncertainty is an essential element of creativity, which in turn comes from mindful attention to your craft of choice. My craft is resewing existing clothing.

Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer says our current culture leads us to try to reduce and minimise uncertainty, leading to mindless rigid behaviour governed by rules and routines.

On the other hand, if we exploit the power of uncertainty we learn that things can become more than we previously thought possible. Mindfulness makes us sensitive to context, perspective, and changing situations.

Sew it Again is a response to changing circumstances around the way we dress. As clothing becomes cheaper, plentiful and designed with built-in obsolescence – an extraordinary amount of clothing waste has been accumulating around the world.  Continue reading

Sew 124 – Upcycled in Coolah

Casey's homespun and knitted jumper upcycled by mendingVery excited to have my first Upcycled exhibition now hanging in Pandora Gallery at Coolah in New South Wales as a celebration of natural fibres and (re)fashion from today until May 16.

Upcycled is an interactive exhibition about the history, origins and uses of natural fibres which explores creative ways to refashion existing clothing for a second life.

Our consumer society is using textiles at an unprecedented rate, with thousands of tonnes of waste clothing dumped in landfill or shipped to third-world countries every year.

Thanks to my ARLP leadership colleague Ele Cook and gallery coordinator Jennie Stephens, I’ve been able to mount this exhibition to showcase some of my repurposed reject garments 365-day Sew it Again creations to raise awareness of the ethical, social and environmental issues of textile waste.  Continue reading

Sew 44 – What is it all for?

silk/linen upcycled dressThis dress was created by sewing a linen skirt to the top of a cotton/silk shift because the blue and yellow shades in both looked as if they were meant to be together.

Some things are just meant to be – and I think this year in the rhythm of sewing, photographing, writing and posting about my resewing experiences is one of those things.

I’m currently working out how to manage this rhythm while in Western Australia next month, my third trip west during the past year since my youngest brother Paul lost his life in an excavator accident there.

Losing a much-loved sibling is painful, as well as a wake-up call for what really matters. Paul was living an adventurous life in his Mercedes Sprinter van fitted out as a mobile home/tool kit, working as a builder in remote parts of the state. He had no children, was twice married and twice divorced.

Paul didn’t leave a Will, so part of my journey this year after being appointed as administrator is deciding what to do with his possessions. Less is more and quality remains long after price forgotten were codes by which Paul lived – and I’m fortunate he gathered a couple of high-quality friends who are helping me work through this process. Continue reading