My nick name as a kid was "Aus". Working with second hand clothing - the name AusRags was the perfect combination to reflect the synergy of my character and the products I work with.
I roam the town parks for wind falls; wander along the beaches to collect sea weeds; go bush to find more dye sources. All is done without any damage to the environment of course!! While I am wondering around, I pick up rusty bottle tops and other bits and pieces, which are used to enhance the results and fixes the natural dyes into the cloth. I also collect copper pipe and brass bits for that purpose.
Often I can be found in op shops, tip shops or car boot sales to find materials to dye. What I am looking for is clothing or materials made of animal fibres which take the natural dyes the best; although I have very good results with dyeing cotton and linen too. The whole process of finding the dye sources, the materials to work with, preparing the cloth for the dye pot, then watch the dye pots simmer on the fire. Once the pots have cooled down, the excitement starts all over when the dye pots are emptied and the results come to light. I conduct natural dye workshops regularly……. The Essence of Nature.
I also buy good quality clothing second hand. After selecting a garment out of my stash, I then find complementary materials in the form of clothing, lace, fabric scraps and more. The selected garment is then transformed into a unique wearable art piece. Want to learn to do this yourself? Workshops are available regularly. Old Fashion… Transformed.
I love to work with materials which already had a life, which I want to extend. We live in such a wasteful society. Clothing is cheap to buy, but does not last well. It often is produced under terrible working conditions. That is why I want to work with what already has been produced, to make it last longer
Some of the items I make are made of new silk and new wool material. I make sure I buy new materials which have been produced in a save work environment, where workers are paid a fair wage.