Research Point 1: Textile Designers & Artists that work with recycled materials


Many textile designers and artists choose to work with found, recycled, worn or even discarded textiles and materials. Try to find an example of one such designer or artist and analyse how they select, apply and alter their chosen materials.

Cas Holmes

As discussed in my previous post on Cas Holmes, she “paints, dyes, layers and stitches discarded cloth, paper and found materials”. Although the found materials influence her work, she says that her work is “neither material driven nor idea driven”. In an online interview at TextileArtist Cas Holmes discusses how she started working with used textiles when finances were tight and she began to experiment with waste paper and fabrics. For Holmes, the next logical step was to piece them together to make larger works and so fragments of found materials are painted and dyed, layered and stitched to create the final works.

Jill Flower

I was lucky enough to see Jill Flower’s Memories of AJ at the 2018 Knitting and Stitching Show. This work is constructed from discarded scraps of fabric discovered on a jungle floor. She says that “[t]he fragile treasures were too precious to be stored away so became determined to use every last scrap that was found within this project”. The result was a vibrant and eye catching work reminiscent of “inches” (tiny inch square samples embroidered with a variety of designs).

Debbie Lyddon

Debbie Lyddon’s Marshscape Collage is a series of collages which were created from “bits pulled out of my big bag of odds and ends (mainly unfinished and discarded work and left-overs) and specially painted paper and cloth. It is rather like doing a puzzle.” It is interesting that Lyddon uses discarded work as I often have half finished works that I have lost momentum on due to health issues. Whilst I usually find this a source of frustration it is inspiring to see that I can repurpose these into a new work, perhaps in a different direction to the original.

Jacky Russell

Although Jacky Russell doesn’t particularly use found/reused material, I came across her work when researching artists that do (in particular through the Studio21 website). Her method involves “[u]sing ‘Lutradur’ and hand dyed natural fibres, surfaces are resisted, machine stitched and heat treated with the addition of surface and texture paints. The layering of fabrics, stitching and corroding back create dimensional surfaces, each one concealing or revealing the other.” I have yet to experiment with the effect of heat on textiles and find Jacky Russell’s work inspiring.


Flower, J
Holmes, C.
Holmes, C. (2016) Cas Holmes: A continual challenge of ideas
Lyddon, D.
Russell, J.

[All links accessed 2/1/2018]

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