With the Arrival of Spring, New Designs Break Ground
When I first met my husband we quickly made scavenging the local flea markets a favorite past time. He’d routinely select some item from a vendor’s cache and ask me what I saw. I’d respond shoe form, wrench, or whatever else the item happened to be. “No,” he’d say. “That’s what it is. I want to know what it could be.” Such a simple statement that became the cornerstone of my point of view in all my ensuing design challenges.
We live a pretty earth friendly life. My husband spends a good part of the year chopping the wood we use to heat our home through the New England winters. I manage the kitchen; cooking and baking our breads, snacks, meals with an emphatic keeping to organic and local ingredients. We know our farmers. We are fanatic recyclers. We drive a hybrid. So, it should come as no surprise that when I started my fiber and textile business my materials would continue in the vein in which we live our life. The fabrics and yarn I work with are all organic, natural, fair trade, recycled, and/or re-purposed. With a steady eye on quality of both my designs and my materials, my constant challenge is to eek out the best of possibilities from my cottons or woolens. What shape will my collected treasures take next in their recycled evolution?
Quite honestly, I can’t even recall how I first started working with sweaters, but somehow I started collecting beautiful wool, cashmere, fair isle, aran—exquisite sweaters that for some reason or another were being discarded. Sifting through thrift shops and rummage sales became a favorite activity. And my husband’s first questions that he posed during our courtship became a constant echo. What’s next? What’s next? And then one day designs started falling from mind’s eye to my pencil and paper to my cutting table. Cashmere bunnies, and fair isle elephants all started to take shape. Pigs and starfish and puppy dogs began to fill the studio. My little gallery now hosts a community of little friends to join the community of our littlest treasures: our kids.
This incredibly soft Cashmere Bunny satisfies her sweet tooth with Cupcakes, which are also made with bits and pieces of recycled sweaters.
A gentle elephant springs to life with cheery thanks to a wool fair isle sweater.
Everything starts with the washing and felting of the sweaters and very frequently some design detail in them–be it a placket or a seam–will inspire the Sweet Critter that it will become.
Jess Wrobel: A lifelong creative type, my studio is filled with an enormity of wonders from the fiber world from which I create my knitwear and pattern designs and textile art pieces. With my husband as my cohort, we reclaim, repurpose, and salvage old pieces into new functional home decor and furniture works. I teach, and write, and enjoy meeting everyone in person at artisan shows. Please visit www.Jwrobel.com <http://www.Jwrobel.com> or follow me on www.facebook.com/JwrobelStudio <http://www.facebook.com/JwrobelStudio> to learn more.