This weekend Kirri-mae Sampson of Kirri-MaDe will share her macrame skills with workshop participants and teach a unique jewellery making technique where you can transform a pre-loved shirt into an upcycled necklace. We caught up with Kirri-Mae to find out where the idea came from, and learn more about the philosophies that inform her creative practice. For more information about the T-Shirt to Treasure workshop: click here.
Why is sustainability and ethical process an important aspect of your creative practice?
Sustainability and ethical practice are important aspects of my creative practice because every item we purchase has a complex story behind it. In textile industries like clothing and accessories, that story is often littered with a degree of exploitation – either of people, or places. This persists because of the core focus on profit, and a general lack of public awareness. By operating the way I (and many others) do, by engaging in dialogue around the topic and allowing transparency in my work, it helps to spread awareness around greater industry practices, while offering a point of difference.
How did you come about the design for the upcycled necklace?
I had the fortune of working for a charity who dealt, in part, with clothing donations. During this time I began to see a mass of items that were donated but were not in good enough condition to sell on. The end point for these items is to enter the rag trade, to be exported to other markets (which has it’s own set of complications), or to head to landfill. Many of these items were cotton t-shirts. Pieces with a stain on one side, or a rip or hole etc. I just thought there had to be solutions that didn’t involve export or landfill, and the upcycled necklace was eventually born. Every little effort helps!
How do you feel about sharing your own designs with others?
This is a topic that comes up again and again in workshops. The truth is that I feel great about it. Intellectual Property can be a touchy thing in the creative industries, which I understand because we all work really hard for our outcomes. On the flip side though, so much conversation exists around the concept of ownership too. I don’t like to stake claim over things I do. Ultimately I think sharing ideas, grows ideas. When I see similar things to my own popping up for sale around the place it really just motivates me to take another step forward in my own practice. I try to take a less competitive, and more collaborative approach to making. It’s all win win.
What was the last handmade item you purchased?
The last handmade purchase I made was of some Queen B beeswax candles. Because they smell amazing.
Once you learn basic macrame knots – what can you do with them?
The sky is the limit! Macrame can be 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional depending on the material you’re using. There really are countless applications from jewellery, to homewares, to garments, to sculpture and more. I’d encourage people to just get all experimental with it and see what comes out of it.
What’s in store for your workshop on 9th Nov?
This workshop will be the second T-shirt To Treasure workshop and I’m looking forward to it. A few knots, a couple of hours and you get to walk away with some bold jewellery, some new skills and the opportunity to make aaaaalll the presents for Christmas this year 😉
For more information on Kirri-MaDe’s upcoming workshop: click here.