Recycle, reuse, regenerate…

I seem to be on a mission at the moment to use up what I have when making work. This practice has been ticking over for a while but has gained momentum recently.

I have bought some new materials this year, some paints and new coloured pencils, some threads and fabric to experiment with something new. This last purchase was probably not wise, but you have these ideas…

I have a pile of old embroideries, work that has been to a few shows, work that’s been in my browser for sale for a while, work that just went nowhere, started but unfinished work. I’ve been sorting through it and basically cutting it up, repurposing it, and hopefully regenerating it into new pieces. It’s quite a relief to be rid of the accusing pile of old work. I thought I’d finished going through it but found another couple of pieces stored away, so they are for the chop next. It’s difficult sometimes as the work is quite nice, but I seriously don’t need any more stuff hanging around; that’s the problem when you have been somewhat productive.

I’ve mostly made smaller pieces from the materials, which will be machine and hand stitched, and mounted for framing. I have a show at the RBSA Gallery in Birmingham in November, so it’s good to have a destination for some work, at last.

Here are some of the materials either waiting to be regenerated or having gone under the scissors. There are about 15 pieces in all, probably more to follow.

These pieces, above, were one big piece, laid down but not stitched. They are now 4 pieces. I made a nice new useful fabric from lots of painted silk scraps bonded onto some silk gauze, bottom left, and this will be cut up and added to the jungly pieces. I spent ages cutting those leaves out and I’m not wasting all that effort!

This piece of printed fabric, below, has been around for some time. It only needed some simple applique, as the images are too nice to cover up. That’s what I love about printing, the beautiful surprises and crunchy visual texture. It’s metallic screen printed acrylic paint on cotton, over dyed with indigo.

Any useful bits and pieces left over go into my collage folder. There’s s a lot of useful stuff in here, lots of potential for cutting and sticking. I still find collage one of the best design tools.

So, next, some hoop action. I had some hoops I wanted to use up, and these ended up featuring some recycled older work too. The first three are 30cm/12 inch hoops, the other two are 25cm/10 inches.

Working at these and in the garden, with some outdoor outings and meet ups, are mainly what I am doing these days. I’ve taken up Qigong again too. I used to really enjoy it when I went to Tai Chi, where we did series of Qigong exercises before the Tai Chi part of the class. I didn’t really enjoy Tai Chi at all, but loved Qigong. After a couple of weeks of short daily practice my frozen shoulder was healed. This wasn’t t the intention of going to the classes, it just happened.

There’s a great chap on YouTube, Jeffrey Chand.

So, a few garden images, yes I know everyone is putting up garden and plant images, but let’s celebrate the plant world, we wouldn’t be here without it.

The vegetable patch, mostly in pots around the garden. Things are a bit slow, but no too bad for a north facing semi shaded garden.

A bit more sun and the tomatoes will ripen. Above is a very mini Turk’s turban squash, which I don’t think is going to be very big, but I didn’t expect anything at all and love the way the plant is rambling everywhere, using any plant it passes to hold itself up. I have a fairly random approach to vegetable growing, fully appreciating the daily pickings. Salad leaves and courgettes seem to be the stars this year.

Hopefully, next time, some finished regenerated pieces. Have safe fun everyone!

13 thoughts on “Recycle, reuse, regenerate…

  1. Looks like you’re having fun with the repurposing Stephanie, some beautiful things there to resuse, what a good idea, i should try it with some of my works on paper.
    I’m a fan of Qigong too, I find it just amazing 🙂

  2. Yes, some things are too nice to throw away but there comes a point when you are tired of them always being around. Those older textile pieces take up space and flop all over the place too, they are difficult to store. Works on paper can be easier to keep but I suppose there comes a time when they could be repurposed. I just take photographs first, so there’s a record.
    Another Qigong fan, excellent!

  3. Your recycling is very effective – lovely results. I guess the problem with being creative is finding space to keep the resulting creations. (And the necessary supplies for making them.) Love your point about celebrating the plant world because we wouldn’t be here without it – I do so agree! 🙂

    1. Hi Ann, yes, too much work can accumulate. Ideally the smaller pieces sell, but I’ve done a lot of large exhibition work over the years and that tends to stick around!
      I know you are fully knowledgeable re the importance of plants. I wish everyone was the same!

      1. I’m trying to spread the word about plants – and the importance of the beasties in the garden too! 🙂

  4. Repurposing seems to be a common theme with artists through the pandemic, I’m doing the same. It’s very cathartic. I wish I could see your show at the RBSA, just not sure if it will be safe enough to fly then as the US is not doing well with the virus. Your garden looks beautiful, so lush.

  5. Hi Jacqui, lovely to hear from you. Your studio is looking great, what a year though. I am enjoying using these materials, so much better than just storing them for me. I’m becoming quite minimalist in terms of materials, I find I don’t want the load of a large stash, although I do love new supplies at times.
    We’ve had a wet and not very hot July, resulting in a lot of lush growth. I love it!

  6. I’ve been cutting up older work too! Love what you’ve been repurposing. Sorry you didn’t like the Tai Chi, I have become a convert over the past 7 months and look forward to my “daily dose”. I’ve never done Qigong though, looks like I need to try it.

  7. Thanks Gillian, its good to use up older work isn’t it. I went to Tai Chi classes where we always started off with Qi Gong exercises. Qi Gong is a stand alone practice though, and that’s where my education and preference started. The movements are similar to Tai Chi as far as I remember, but all in one spot, and both practices are really beneficial. There are great routines for calming, energising, building up immunity etc.

  8. Lovely work and recycling inspiration!
    Thank you for the recommendation re Qi Gong. I used to love Tai Chi with Nigel at Stirchley baths before lockdown and I always enjoyed the Qi Gong he added in too. I’ve been doing the odd bit I’ve found on YouTube so I’ll definitely look at Jeffrey Chand.
    It’s lovely to see your garden too – I’ve really enjoyed having the time to spend in mine.
    Looking forward to seeing your exhibition in November – keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah
      Many thanks for your comment, you are very kind. Stirchley baths, I haven’t been there since its own regeneration, but kept meaning to check it out. Let’s hope things improve soon, and it can re open. I’m missing MAC too.
      I did however spend many happy times there as a child, when it actually was a pool. A play around in the water with my pals and then chips from the fish and chip shop in Bournville Lane which I think is still there. We taught ourselves to swim there.
      I hope you enjoy Jeffrey, there are some good routines on the website, I feel better already. I tried the free trial and will subscribe, as having someone ‘there’ helps me get going!

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