No one is too old or young to learn a new skill. That’s why south-east Queensland textile artist Wendi Trulson believes everyone can learn to create their own garments by just giving it a go.
Wendi’s passion is bundle (eco print) dyeing because of its sustainable and earth-friendly. It makes one think not only of the material waste but the chemical destruction that poisons the waterways of the world.
Her interest in sewing started young and she remembers hand sewing samplers in Grade 2. “I was making my own clothes by age 12 and continued with this endeavour right through till my late 20s when travel and other things took over my life. I am back to that place/space again and, with pride, love to sew new clothes from old or repurpose otherwise discarded material,” Wendi said.
“I am keen on sewing by hand because I find it very mediative and soothing. Mending is back on the agenda and I find myself having fun with visible mending. Bigger home wares appeal to me too – cushion covers, table runners all fashioned from repurposed fabric. My own wardrobe is coloured to a high percentage by nature, some made by me and some repurposed clothing. For me, it is not only the waste of fabric but the use of chemical colour when nature can be used.”
For The Slow Clothing Project, Wendy created swing top which came about because a friend found a wool / cashmere baby blanket at an op shop.
“The design of the top evolved because I had to add more yardage to the blanket to make a piece big enough for the pattern – so more baby blanket and some wool from a jumper that had already been deconstructed was pieced together. The placement took a while but once I was happy the sewing of seams the hand stitching of the edges were done. Then the fun bit – bundling up with my beloved Eucalyptus leaves, to colour and imprint on to the material to transform an otherwise odd concoction of material.
In considering a response to the culture of consumerism and fast fashion, Wendi says “Lock up your daughters comes to mind. Can we teach the kids to think about where their clothes come from, buy one good quality not 10 cheap and nasty? It is our disposable world that is at fault. Nothing gets fixed any more, we just buy a new one. The whole world needs a lesson, in repurpose, refashion, mend and fix. “
The concept of slow permeates Wendi’s life. Slow colour – she has jars of thread, wool and cloth brewing some stay bundled like that for a year or so before coming to life. Slow is also having snippets of eco-dyed cloth, paper and thread that with time evolve into art work for the wall.
Thinking about how handmade skills can contribute to sustainability, resilience and wellbeing in today’s society, Wendi believes teaching useful skills from a young age. “I am lucky that not only my mother, aunts and grandmother were all makers. I am a maker and that is being handed down to my daughter and son. It is the coming generations that need to be taught the almost lost skills of sewing/mending, soldering/welding and gardening.”
Read more about Wendi’s philosophy via Instagram @ecowott or her blog https://wendiofthetreasure.com/