Friday, December 14, 2012

Recyled Sari Ribbon

I've had a hank of recycled sari ribbon hanging from a hook on the wall of our studio for months now.  As soon as we started carrying it in our web store, I knew I wanted to work with it.  I had no idea what I would do with it.  I just loved the vibrant colors.  With all its frayed edges and the overall look of haphazardness, it seemed just perfect for our Wabi Sabi-themed show.  

For months it has called my name, without telling me what to do with it.  A friend crocheted it into fantastic coiled bowls.  I love her bowls, but it wasn't what I wanted to do.  I tried braiding it, but my braids disguised  the frayed edges, transforming the wonderful messiness of it into something neat and somehow insipid.  I tried weaving it, but it came out sort of checker-boardy.  Again ho-hum.

Finally in the last couple of days I think I have found a way to use it that fits my vision and the wabi sabi concept.  Here's my beginning:

I pinned the ribbon to a length of silk organza, folding it back and forth to cover the base.  I took the colors just as they came; I didn't try to rearrange them at all.  I didn't iron the ribbon before putting it down, I left it wrinkly.  I tamed the wrinkles just enough to be sure that I covered the organza and that I could stitch over it.  Then I started couching a thin fringed yarn over the ribbons in a wavy pattern.  I worked in sections, putting in just enough stitching to hold the ribbon to the base without any pins.  Then I ironed the whole thing to flatten down the wrinkles and continued adding wavy lines of couching till everything was secure.

When I first got going I wasn't sure that the result was going to be worth the effort.  By the time I finished the first section, I liked it just enough to keep going.  The second section was much easier due to the fact that I placed the pins lengthwise in the ribbons, not crosswise.  It made it SO much easier to remove the pins as I sewed and I was still able to control the wrinkles the way I wanted to.  By the time I finished stitching the section shown in my photo, I was happy and starting to think about another similar piece.

I think this one is destined for one of my jackets - perhaps cut in strips and inset somewhere.  Then I think I'll do another similar piece but stitch down the ribbons by hand using a variety of embroidery stitches and fancy threads.  I think that will be a wall piece.  Stay tuned, there will be more to come...

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