My mother came from the era of make do and mend and as a result I was encouraged to mend and recycle things to extend their life. Thus in the back of my mind I have always attempted to live by this methodology and as an added outcome, not create too much waste. It is great to see that this way of thinking has started to flourish once again, which is evident in the amount of books now offering advice on how to transform a multitude of items through recycling and repurposing. There is a variety of sources for materials from hand-me-downs, markets, auctions, garage and boot sales and my personal favourite, the op shop.
My obsessional but rather wonderful love of op shopping has provided all sorts of finds that could be reused, repurposed and reinvigorated with new meaning. Recycled items I sourced from op shops very quickly became a major component of my art, fashion, interiors and everyday life. When I began my foray into op shopping I was a full-time student and recycling provided me with the means to be innovative, stylish and cutting edge, all at a minimal cost. The other major advantage was that it gave me the opportunity to be more sustainable and benefit the environment by reducing landfill, saving energy and conserving nature resources.
Creativity really is beneficial to recycling as it gives us the means and imagination to visualise and capitalise on potential to restore and repurpose. Education around this area has been of great relevance to me and is why I chose to run workshops, both at national textile forums and also privately in my studio, so I could pass on skills and knowledge in order for more people to explore the pleasures and benefits of recycling.