If you’ve headed out to the shops lately you may be finding that some of the things you’d normally buy are just not available. My daughter has grown and now needs the next size up. When we headed to our usual retailers they had limited stock and it was out of season. It got me thinking about whether one of the side effects of COVID-19 may be a reduction in our consumerism, quite simply because if it’s not available, you can’t buy it. A couple of years ago ABC’s War on Waste reported that Australian’s were throwing away 6000 kilos of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes. Mind-blowing. Does our new reality mean that recycling and upcycling will become even more important this year?
We asked Zoe from Hook, Line, and Stitcher how she’d embraced reusing and recycling to create some of the products she makes. Here’s what she said.
Environmentally friendly products
Creating products that are environmentally friendly is an important focus for many of the products I make and sell. I recently opened Shop Number Four at Lake Street in Warners Bay. We’re a hub for local artists where you can find beautiful handmade products. When I first started crocheting baby blankets 15 years ago I was conscious that I didn’t want to add to our waste problem. With 3 children of my own, I felt a strong desire to encourage them to think about recycling and upcycling. They’ve grown up in a home where they’ll see me pick up a table from the side of the road, sand it, polish it and paint it. I make something beautiful out of what was once heading to landfill. This is mirrored in the materials I choose.
Products I use recycled materials to make
- Storage baskets
- Dishcloths, face washers, and make-up wipes
- Oven mitts
- Vegetable bags
- Macrame: plant pot holders or wall hangings
When I started to research materials I found that I could purchase spaghetti yarn. This is yarn made from the offcuts of t-shirts. The big companies that produce these garments recycle the offcuts and any rejected t-shirts. The material is shredded, and spaghetti yarn is produced. I use spaghetti yarn to make storage baskets. These are great for placing your bits ‘n bobs in or for placing a plant pot in. Whatever you choose.
Upcycled op shop finds
I make dishcloths out of recycled denim, cotton, and viscose. These materials are shredded and made into yarn. I use recycled cotton for my macrame pieces. You’ll regularly find me in op shops looking for material I can reuse. If I find preloved woollen blankets, I’ll use these to make oven gloves. Lace net curtains are the perfect material for reusable vegetable bags. I use spaghetti yarn to make the drawstring. These can be thrown in the wash and reduce the need for single-use plastic bags. They’re even useful for placing over tomatoes and other vegetables you’re growing in the garden to keep aphids and bugs off!
Creating art that reflects my vision
Recently I’ve worked on a piece for the upcoming Waste to Art exhibition hosted by Lake Macquarie Sustainable Neighbourhoods. My piece is inspired by our Lake Macquarie beaches and ocean. I’ve used offcuts that would normally have been too short for any other use. The yellow represents the sand, the blue the ocean, and the shape I have woven represents the waves crashing on the shore. This piece took almost 12 hours to produce. Whereas normally with a macrame piece you would use one cord to make the whole piece this had to be woven in sections and joined. It encouraged me to look at the piece in a new way and I loved doing it.
Hook, Line & Stitcher | Get crafty and tie yourself up in knots!!!
Zoe Humphreys – Creator
Description: If you’d like to find out more about what I do or treat yourself or a loved one to a beautiful handmade gift I would love to hear from you. You can join me for a class to learn how to macrame yourself. It’s great to learn a new skill. If you have something you would like me to make let me know. I’m always up for a challenge. You’ll find me at local markets or 7 days a week at Shop Number Four at Warners Bay.
P: 0416 808328