What I have learnt in my childhood and what I keep trying to adopt in my everyday life, are my mum’s lesson on recycling, especially of clothes, fabrics and sewing equipment.
That is why I would like to say something about it.
When I was a child there were times where people used to buy fabrics at the weekly open air market or else in the only two haberdasheries of the local area that sold fabrics and finishing named “Cubo magico” and “Merceria Raffa”. Thirty years ago it was not custom to purchase all one’s clothes from shops. Much rather there was at least a tailor in the family or in the neighbourhood.
I can still remember when the kitchen table was full of tailor’s paper pinned on cloth strips of different sizes. Women of our village came to sew together almost every day with my mother or just to ask her advice. I liked listening to their conversations about new issues of those fashion magazines with included all model patterns that they usually swapped.
During the last Christmas holidays, some family friends came for dinner. The topic of conversation was firstly on Christmas presents. We overall receive clothes or accessories, so the talk moved around fashion and trends. What all of us agreed was that nowadays people buy “fast fashion” because there is not time to sew anymore. Apart from that, it may be a paradox but in our area it is now difficult to find fabric sellers.
It was there that my mum’s friend remembered a stored beautiful woolen offcut gifted a long time before. She said that it had a floral pattern with dark red tones, soft to the touch and lightweight. She partially used it years before to make a shirt, but she did not know what to do with what was left. As soon as she asked if it could be useful to me, I looked at my mother who nodded and enthusiastically replied: <<Of course! I love vintage fabrics, they make you think and travel within your mind >>.
A few weeks later me and my mum put our ideas into practice.
She started with measurements and claimed that the length was not enough for a long stole, as I had thought at the beginning. Instead she suggested sewing two loop scarves and immediately we both agreed to adorn them with some vintage buttons. I went straight to find two good ones in an old biscuit tin where she keeps them.
I suppose it took her only an hour to sew them. Even though if they were been two simple things, the satisfaction you feel by creating something with your hands it is so much that makes time pass by quickly.
The first time I decided to go out with my uncle looking for some driftwood was not as easy as I thought while closing the house door. I can still remember it was in January in the early afternoon.
Once there, I got in mind the same place but during the summer season when it looks so noisy, full of umbrellas and inflatables. In front of me then I could see just an isolated sandy beach. Wherever there were trunks, large stones and an overall smaller space than I could remember. In winter storms waves are so long that they halve the depth of the entire beach, but it is also true that the erosion of the coasts is visible without technical tools. In short, I got lost in my environmental thoughts when, after listening to my name, I turned back to look at my uncle’s bag. It was full. I looked at mine. It was empty. Wisely he suggested swapping our shopping bags so he could gather two or three more driftwood before going back home.
Later, he made a more accurate selection of wood. Those which were discarded would rather go into the stove, others would stand aside for a while to check they would not have “disagreeable guests”. It would be a pity to make a wooden mobile and then find out to burn it into the stove! After “quarantine” those will be used to create fish mobiles. It depends on the length of a single branch how big and high will become a wall decor.
Regarding other wooden decor and magnets as fish, butterflies, swans, geckos so on are made of fir that is sold in boards of different sizes and thickness in carpentry stores. On each board (approx size is 28″x 40″) first he draws the contours shaped with the template, trying to leave as little scrap as possible (which will eventually only end up on the stove) and then starts to carve. The following step is smoothing. The latest phase is painting while listening to the radio.
During winter months as of February and March, his whole apartment is full of boards where literally lie all these “creatures”.
Fish mobiles follow a different process. Usually, their eyes are painted one part at a time if not color of the iris would be mixed with the white of the pupil. All wooden decors are painted first of color on both sides, but on magnets and wall decors finishing is made on one side only. Once the paint has dried, drilling is the following step so then every part is ready and he can make mobiles.
A wooden fish mobile : unique carved and painted marine decorations