I met a really lovely lady at an event I did a while ago and we had a really good chat about being more sustainably conscious, I enjoy talking about this subject, always ready to learn more, listening to other people’s views and opinions, and sharing resources.
She contacted me later and asked if I could help her; she had a silk jacket that she wanted to revamp; I thought it was a great idea to upcycle a garment rather than just give it away in hopes someone else may buy/use it instead of ending up in a landfill somewhere.
Rachel was inspired by a triptych painting she saw in Brussels about regeneration; it was an abstract woman in a shape of an egg as a regeneration chamber where she would go from time to time in her life to heal and recharge her batteries with the colours; blue, red and purple symbolising water/fire/blood swirling outside of it. Because the jacket was silk, I immediately knew silk painting would work and the effect would reflect the painting. Also as the whole jacket was not going to be painted I suggested a watercolour effect would be nice.
The egg was to be an appliqué with the abstract woman in black fabric paint; I had two types so I did a sample of each;
one simple black clean lines and the second was a puffy paint, so once it was dried and you ironed it, it would puff up giving a tactile 3D effect.
She ended up liking both so decided on the right with the thinner lines as the start and the puffier as the regenerated woman with the colours swirling and connecting the two, seeping from the right where she was starting the regeneration over the shoulders and onto the left-hand side. We also decided on using gold thread to embroider the appliqué on as she wanted the representation of the Japanese idea of kinsukoroi: repairing broken things with gold. The egg on the right was a simple running stitch in a golden straw pearlescent rayon and for the regenerated one on the left, I did a chain stitch in a gold metallic thread.
I thoroughly enjoyed this commissioned piece, mainly because it was so easy to work with Rachel and she had a lot of trust in me as well as allowing me creative control, she did say however she felt that I understood what she wanted. She was very happy with the end result and so was I.
If you are interested in upcycling/revamping a piece of old clothing please do get in touch, I would be happy to discuss how we can go about it.