Tag Archives: recycling

Transformations: Blind to Banner

I think some of my earliest sewing projects were mending and banner making.  I see no reason to change now!  This week the household is preparing to head out and let CommBank know we want them to rule out funding the Adani coal mine.  This mega-mine would mean that Australia could not hope to meet its obligations under the Paris agreement on climate action, let alone claim global leadership on addressing the most serious threat facing the planet, all species, and humanity.  We are part of the national movement to stop the money going to this project, and our strategies include going to the banks and singing about our hopes and expectations. We also want the passersby to know what we are doing–and that is where the banner comes in.

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A few weeks back I saw an old holland blind abandoned on the verge/nature strip.  I took it home because it was crying out to become a banner.  Nice, firm, neutral coloured fabric that won’t bleed through–and otherwise destined for landfill. I cut off the really sad parts that were coming apart through UV light damage and long use.  Then I washed off the surface grime (it had been out in the weather when I came across it).  Next, discussion about how big the banner should be, and snip!  In with the scissors.

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Next, collaboration on the engineering aspects, and construction of the pole pockets, with me on the sewing machine and my friends supporting the weight of the fabric.  We agreed on the message and design, then ate a delicious dinner!  I roughed out the text with a pencil and then we got to colouring it in, and called a friend for resources.  She came over with paint and brushes and I outlined the black sections in texta/sharpie/permanent felt tip pen. Then  everything went quiet for a while.  It’s more fun than you think to collaborate on a thing like this. And it doesn’t have to be a work of art, it just has to be a communication.

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Ready to go… but not quite… next day, off to the local bamboo clump, with some admiration of guerilla gardening success en route.  Here, I planted everything except the tree.

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Here, my friends and I planted everything, and there is so much cover now a friend planted a eucalypt in there with me one day–the site is protected enough that it might make it now!

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Then I made my bamboo selections, cut a spare one or two, stripped the leaves and headed home for breakfast and work.  We are ready to go!  If you are in Adelaide and want to join us, see you at 10 am outside the Commbank branch on Gouger St City, beside the market, for an hour of songs about why renewable energy is preferable to coal, the need for climate action, our determination to dump banks that won’t see sense and stop investing in fossil fuels, and some very fun new songs about stopping Adani. Feel free to swell our numbers whether you sing or not.  There’s a banner you could hold… or bring your own!

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Filed under Activism, Natural dyeing, Sewing

Eucalyptus Torquata: Leaf Prints and Modifiers

Remember my modifier experiment?  I have two jars of wonder, based on Jenny Dean’s instructions.  One contains offcuts of copper pipe from my Dad, vinegar and water.  It’s been steeping for months.  My first effort at iron water didn’t work out as I’d hoped, more like a science experiment!  This one is based on my friend’s collecton of bent nails.  He has been turning pallets into furniture, so he has removed a lot of nails.  They got left out in the rain and, bless him!  He thought of me.  Here they are, left to right:

Mystery Science Experiment, Rusty Nail Water, Copper Pipe Water.

Here are my E Torquata samples on hand spun wool and commercial wool/hemp blend:
Unmodified at the top, Iron modifier next, Copper modifier at the bottom.  I have to admit, this isn’t a deeply exciting result.

And here are my E Torquata leaf prints on recycled linen (the darker one was the side against the cast iron pipe):

Here are the prints from my ‘is it E Scoparia?’ experiment.  The answer is a tentative ‘yes!’  Recycled linen on the left, recycled silk on the right.  I included the very young, soft, green foliage you can see printed toward the bottom partly because I have been asked whether it is true you need to use young foliage to get good leaf prints.  My experience is that you don’t (though of course, you can).

Finally… a gratuitous photo of an E Torquata flowering very pinkly in a car park in my place of work.  One of my co-workers came out of the building to see me with a pile of papers in one hand and my phone in the other, and said: ‘What are you doing, Mary?’  As you would, really.

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Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing