Founder of BH Upcycled Designs
I’ve worked with my hands since I was a child. I believe the talent came from my grandmother, who was a seamstress and quilter and played with many other crafts.
After working as a nurse for a few years, I found I was always happiest when working at my crafts, and longed for the chance to “live by the work of my hands”. When my youngest was around 8 I took the plunge and Bethany Homecrafts (the original name for my business) was born. My work and my business have grown and evolved over the years, and I’m thrilled to be able to make a valuable contribution to our family in this way. I’m also grateful to be able to share the bounty and creativity – my son helps with design work, cutting and sewing.
My work has several facets: creating wearable art from upcycled materials, teaching people about recycling, and encouraging people to use their own creativity to build a better world. I’m proud and grateful to be part of the “slow fashion” movement.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is our process?
We rescue clothes that people are done with. If they are wool or cashmere sweaters, they get felted, then cut up so that the fabric can be used. Cotton, silk and linen are gently washed, then cut up, and sewn into new things so they can have a whole new life.
Until only the last couple of generations, everyone used things until they had no more use left in them. No one threw anything away, they reused! “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!” was the way life was lived.
In our consumer society, clothing is now made cheaply, so it’s inexpensive, and easy to discard when it needs mending or a new style comes along. This system is simply not sustainable. Reusing materials that already exist is my way to try to slow the damage, and using my imagination to make beautiful new things is my way to honor the earth and the people who originally gave their energy to make the clothing I upcycle.
Do you use natural fibers?
I love the feel, drape and look of natural fibers, and that they tend to have a lower environmental impact in their manufacture than man-made fibers.
We are now learning that man-made fabrics like nylon, poly-fleece and the like shed fibers (which don’t degrade) when they are laundered, which get into the water and are ingested by marine life. There are now more plastics in the ocean from laundry than from trash. We can do something about this by changing our habits and choices.
If I see something I like on your website, can I have you make me something similar? Because our materials are sourced from repurposed clothing, what we make depends on what we are able to find at any given time. This means each piece we make is unique and one of a kind, and not exactly replicable. We might be able to make something like it for you, so please talk to us!
What is "Slow Fashion"?
As worded in SlowFashion.com, the term “Slow Fashion” was coined by Kate Fletcher in 2007 (Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UK). Slow Fashion is not a seasonal trend that comes and goes like animal print, but a sustainable fashion movement that is gaining momentum.
Slow Fashion attempts to slow the rate of change down to a more sustainable pace.
When we slow down we realize that we don’t need to buy new trends every 6 weeks as the fast-fashion retailers are pushing them out, we need to step back and reassess what is really important to us. Getting started in the slow fashion movement doesn’t necessarily mean we need to knit our own socks; we simply need to make more conscious shopping decisions.