It’s my sincerest pleasure to be starting this new blog project. As a maker, artist, and craftsperson I’ve always felt compelled toward projects that reuse items and materials that people commonly throw out. From fabric scraps to tin cans, I love a good challenge that forces me to think differently about a project. I think this started when I was pretty young. As a kid, we didn’t have tons of money lying around for new toys or clothes, so I had to be creative with what I had. Sometimes getting a new dress for a doll meant making it myself. Making my own fun was always a creative challenge that never seemed to tire me. I made games, forts, stuffed animals, and even a few “time machines” (cardboard boxes that my best friend and I glued together, don’t judge) from items destined for the dump or that were just lying around. As an adult, not much has changed except that my skills are sharper and my ethics around my materials are very defined: I find it horrific that as a society we manage to throw away so many useful things. While everyone is KonMari-ing their homes and people place more emphasis on the buying of things than ever before, our landfills are growing, our savings are dwindling, and I don’t think we’re happier.
Most people I know don’t think twice about waste. If they don’t want it, out it goes. Some people donate repetitively to large charities like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, clueless that the majority of their worn out clothes probably never make it on the shelves but are shipped to developing countries where their arrival disrupts local economies. Most people try not to think about what happens to their trash after it’s gone to the dumpster, on to endless landfills where trash sits around man-made micro-climates refusing to decompose. What if there was another way? What if we threw away less, and made more? That’s exactly what prompted me to start this blog. I really believe that we all have an opportunity to challenge ourselves to get more familiar with our trash. Whether it’s old sheets or tin cans, tattered furniture or old gift boxes, your trash can be repurposed beautifully. Salvage & Stitch is about the What If moment that happens when you realize that everything you own is simply fodder for your creative whims. It’s about refusing to give into buying just because you can. It’s the ultimate make-do and mend project.
I recognize that not everyone is a master seamstress or even owns a pair of pliers. I know that creating for some people is analogous to spreading peanut-butter on to dry pasta, it simply doesn’t make sense. I also don’t think that DIY is going to singlehandedly solve our society’s problem with waste and consumption. I do think, however, that encouraging people to think differently about their things and how they can be reused is a good start. Think of it as an engineering problem for every mind. You don’t have to know how to sew or refinish wood, you just have to have an idea, the curiosity to pursue that idea, and the patience to learn a few new skills.
What I can promise you is this: I will never post anything ugly, I’ll probably talk about my cat way too much, you’ll be subjected to my ridiculously high standards, and things might get weird, but they will always end up lovely. I’m excited to be here, long-live the can-do spirit of all the makers great and small.