Tag Archives: Recycled Art

Jo Meesters’ Sustainable Furniture

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I did a doubletake when I first saw a picture of Jo Meesters’ adorable furniture for his Netherlands design studio, TESTLAB. Yes, it did — It looked just like the potholders I made as a kid, using cotton loops strung and woven on a small square loom. I loved the potholders’ colors and patterns, and made oodles of them. Nothing else seemed to have quite the same appearance of weave and texture. Until now.

Meesters’ furniture collection, “Odds & Ends, Bits & Pieces”, uses only recycled material — 34 discarded wooden beams and 16 leftover blankets goes into each four-piece set.

This stool looks so soft and appealing.

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The studio explores the intersection of craftsmanship and mass production. Many of the forms are elemental. Sustainability, innovation and good design are guiding principles, as is the transformation that is possible when one considers or uses something in a new way.

The “My Secret Garden” carpet, which was done in 2005 in collaboration with Marije van der Park for Meesters & Van der Park, is made from discarded woolen blankets. Traditional needlework and floral patterns lend it extra charm.

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This woodwork-inspired table, “Reshaping Wood”, was also created in 2005 in collaboration with Marije van der Park for Meesters & Van der Park. The project explored the intersection of traditional woodwork and cutting-edge water jet technology in its fabrication.

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I find Meesters’ work incredibly inspiring, for its beauty and obvious love of craftsmanship and for its care and creativity in regards to re-use of everyday materials. Indeed, one of Meesters’ stated goals is to create a bond between object and user, to imbue his projects with an emotional value. If all that weren’t enough, Testlab and Meesters’ creations are just plain fun.

Photos by Marielle Leenders for Jo Meesters (Collection, Stool)

Photos by Jo Meesters (Carpet, Table)

Fairfax Parade and Ecofest

I recently attended the 32nd annual Fairfax (CA) parade and its newer accompanying Ecofest. Both were extraordinary and really showed off the town and its people. The event featured art, music, dance, food, children’s activities, artisinal products, and demonstrations. Themes of sustainability, social consciousness, friendliness and fun overrode the day. It was a beautiful event.

The Ecofest continued through the weekend. Here are some highlights from the parade, Eco Fashion show, and more:

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Many parade entries had themes of Sustainability. This yoke of discarded plastic was particularly effective.

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Here’s our own Youth Making a Difference entry. Follow us to the Eco Fashion Show and Ecofest.

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The Eco Fashion Show incorporated a group of young women’s many original designs and work, using vintage, recycled, and re-purposed materials. The results were impressive and their enthusiasm was contagious.

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At the Ecofest, we learned about worm composting from local vermicomposting expert David Lee Hoffman and from folks from Garden for the Environment, which gives public workshops on organic and sustainable gardening. We found this composter, available at Fairfax Lumber, ideal for our small gardening space.

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We also visited with new and old friends among the exhibitors, such as Bay Nature magazine, Environmental Education Center of Marin, Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, California Native Plant Society, Bio-Diesel Co-op, the Peace Corps, Tamalpais Natureworks sustainable furniture, and Snow Lotus Essential Oils, which I sampled and which seemed to be of extremely high quality. There were also two bodycare artisans that I highly recommend: Moonflowers Body Care (I like their Jasmine cleanser and Gift of India face cream), and North Rose Botanicals. I bought a little sample bag of North Rose products and can’t wait to replenish the heavenly Rose cleanser, tonic, and moisturizer, which are all wonderfully light in texture and scent.

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Bike parking was packed! A terrific sign.

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For more about the preparation for the Eco Fashion Show, see:

“Young Crafters Prepare for Eco Fashion Show”

“Eco Fashion Show Part 2: The Screen Printing”

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Eco Fashion Show Part Two: The Screen Printing

Screen printing was another very exciting part of the day I spent helping girls get ready for the Fairfax Festival Eco Fashion Show, which takes place Saturday, June 13. We ended Part One of the prep with Annabel and her wonderful altered shirt overlaid with a screen print of a cactus.

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The cactus was photographed and then traced.

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A neighbor of Molly’s had helped her repair her old screen printing machine, so the girls could make prints for the show. As Molly noted, we see screen printed T shirts all the time, but we are removed from the process of making them by hand. To do so, both screen and drawing get run through a machine that looks a bit like an old copier. This creates a kind of stencil of the artwork on the screen.

This is a print Jessie made using the cactus screen.

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This is a screen of the “Youth Making a Difference” logo. The girls are going to wear Youth Making a Difference shirts in a parade before the fashion show.

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Molly helps Amanda make her screen print.

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Anna applies paint to the back side of the screen.

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It gets spread with this wonderful tool.

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The finished shirt came out fantastic.

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.. As did a print on this handmade hemp shoulder bag.

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Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Young Crafters Prepare for Eco Fashion Show

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About a dozen wonderful teens and younger girls have been busy for months preparing for an Eco Fashion Show that is slated to be part of the annual Fairfax Festival in Fairfax, CA, this Saturday. More details about the show are here. I had the good fortune to spend time with them last weekend and watch their creations and creativity bloom, as they transitioned recycled and vintage clothes to new uses and made beautiful items, while having fun, all under the auspices of Sustainable Fabric Guru Molly de Vries.

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My daughter Anna opted to repurpose an old nightgown of mine that I wasn’t wearing.

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As soon as she altered it, she had made it her own and was happy thinking about how she would embellish it.

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She pinned this beautiful lace to the hem, and then sewed it by machine.

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Meanwhile, Hannah was hand-sewing a lovely shirt made from a variety of vintage clothing and fabrics.

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Jessie further embellished a beautiful pleated silk skirt that she had made. (This picture does not do it justice.)

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Amanda continued adding to her own lovely brown sundress.

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Annabel tried on different outfits for the show, also thinking about what to alter further.

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The screen print on Annabel’s shirt was made using a tracing of a photo of this cactus:

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See Part Two of this story to learn more about our screen printing fun.

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

Lost Arts: Bookmaking

Our family recently took a wonderful class in Bookmaking, with Eva Shoshany at W.I.G.T. Printing in Mill Valley. Eva supplied the cardboard forms, lots of recycled papers for covering them, ribbons and comb bindings to bind them, pages for the insides, and tons of ideas and inspiration from her and her business and life partner, Barry Toranto, and from their wonderful print shop, which churns out posters, brochures, business cards and more from a Tudor-style storefront in Mill Valley.

Here’s Eva, getting us started:

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Inspiration:

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Anna places the pages into her book:

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Careful with the paper cutter, Dear:

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Lippy plans his book:

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Now, that’s a comb binding:

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I’m getting biz-zay collaging on my book cover:
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I was inspired by the traditional papier-mache strip shape:

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Eva started a photo album for a honeymooning couple:

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We enjoyed being around the ink and presses in the print shop:

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I love Eva’s filing cabinet, which was originally used for sewing patterns:

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Anna began her own colorful collage cover:

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Lippy’s books turned out beautifully, inside and out:

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He plans to make his own sketchbooks from now on:

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Eva is leading at least two more Bookmaking workshops, if you want to learn to do this yourself:

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Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman & Eva Shoshany