I have a huge collection of fabric that I have collected since my teens. My mother taught textiles or “needlework” during the 1970s and 80s so I was picking up bits from her class room scrap bins. Then later I started making my own clothes and had plenty over from cutting out the pattern pieces. Whilst studying textiles the first time around I needed to purchase fabric for printing, dyeing and garment design projects. Later I made outfits for our children and then costumes for their school plays. I have laboured over soft furnishings for our home and other people’s. The piles and bags full of carefully folded and often unused pieces of cloth are like a scrapbook of my journey of making. Many projects never went further than an initial experiment. Some pieces have been made up into a garment or cushion and later remade into a new bag or purse and then re-salvaged “just in case”.
In some ways this mass of fabric and fibre is a burden because I feel obliged to save everything, convinced that it will be useful at some point and it has piled up such that my workroom is completely full and will never be a completely calm place to operate. Of course, taking this course feeds the obsession with all things fabric and I think at this stage of the game I am a hopeless case!
The upside is that I have a massive choice of bits of cloth to experiment with and have pulled out this array for my printing samples:
There is quite a range here. Pure cottons, silks and natural hessian-type fabrics are vying for space with some poly-cottons and synthetic organzas. Looking at this photo I think I will need to add some darker colours to the mix.
Because most of my fabrics were stored for a while in our old shed, when the weather was kinder I have had several massive scouring sessions. I had lots of fun trying to untangle tiny matted scraps with my embroidery scissors but I have kept all the knotted dreadlocks of fibres for further projects. I have an idea that I can incorporate them into woven samples or spin the bits together like the recently popular sari silk yarns.