Friday, March 27, 2015

Wear It Out, Use It Up, Make It Do

I've been noticing some artwork that is based on "wabi sabi", the Japanese art of finding beauty in the natural cycle of birth, growth, decay, and death.   It celebrates the changes and marks that time and use leave behind.  I have really liked the look and feel of these pieces and decided to try it.  I got a few old pieces of muslin and cotton print fabric, some of which was faded and stained.  [SPOILER  ALERT] : Now the theme of this is "transiency" but wanting to make this piece NOW was more important to me than authenticity. I did not want to wait for "real" old pieces and I put unstained fabric in hot water with tea bags to "brown" and fade them.  I dried and ironed them, then layered and stacked them.  I used a running stitch in some soft hues to hold them all together, did a bit of embroidery, and....done.

This type of look really appeals to me.  I grew up on a farm and was reared by parents who lived through the Depression.  "Wear it out, use it up, make it do" was the mantra in our family.  Clothes passed through siblings and cousins.  Lucky was the child who truly fit the clothes of another child who didn't stain or tear her clothes.  We had the "shoe box" where outgrown shoes were put until someone else could wear them; sometimes I helped my mother cut out cardboard to fit inside the uppers if the soles were too "hole-y."   Shoe polish was a NECESSITY!    Towels, linens, furniture, dishware...everything was used until it was gone.  And while I pined for new dresses and shoes, for "modern" and "new", I learned the the material is less important than the immaterial, that new isn't necessarily better, and about what truly lasts.


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