Saturday 19 March 2005

Rags to riches forum

The Rags to Riches forum was a fascinating event. Booked out weeks in advance, the audience was keen to learn about the various uses of otherwise worthless materials. Robyn Healy set the pace with a justification of haute couture as a creative vehicle for experimentation with rags. Mary Louise Edwards spoke about learning the language of rags while living among the Biha tribeswomen in India.

From the philanthropic perspective, Major Merv Lincoln, Deputy Director of the Salvation Army, explained what happened to the clothes that are thrown away in recycling bins. He outlined the complex sorting process that filters various qualities of clothes, down to those destined for the raggers. India Flint followed with her own use of rags as canvases for her natural dyes. She said how important stains were as natural mordants for dyes.

The discussion that followed covered some interesting issues, such as the evil of polyester, the importance of longevity in fabrics and the series of problem of cheap clothing.

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