Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published October 3rd 2014
Enrol in a monthly class creating items from plastic bags
I believe "talent" can be lament in many of us for years until the right moment, when expressing our self in our own unique way blossoms. Karen Benjamin a new and inspiring artist from Brisbane thanks her grandmother and the love of the environment for giving her the vision to create a useful article out of something most people throw away – the plastic bag.
2013 RNA First Place - Funky Fashions & Wearable Art Competition
Following on from watching her grandmother knit hats from plastic bags when she was young, Karen is now heat fusing the same medium, the plastic bag into wearable articles of clothing. From this unusual craft, Karen won the RNA's 2013 "Funky Fashions and Wearable Art Competition" as well as the "Scattered Arts Bag It" Competition and this year at the RNA she was awarded a Second place.
Second Place - 2014 RNA Funky Fashions & Wearable Art Competition
Karen holds regular monthly classes at Village Creative teaching others how to make such items as beads, bows, bookmarks, fabric, flowers, jewellery, shoulder bags etc. You can enrol in one of Karen's workshops by ringing 0407 976 013. At a cost of $25 per person with all equipment being provided, this is an inexpensive way to learn an unusual art and enjoy a night with other like-minded enthusiasts like myself. The next workshop will be held on Friday 24 October 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Drop in or phone Village Creative to get details on all the creative workshops held there on a monthly basis.
On first thought it was hard for me to imagine the variety of colours in the items she produced from the ever common grey and white plastic bags. I had forgotten about the numerous plastic logo shopping bags which purchases are taken home and heavy plastic bags containing fruit. Once I stopped and looked around, colours and variety of bags were in an abundant supply everywhere. Like me, more people are realising the effect incorrect disposal of plastic is having on our environment and to our wildlife and therefore looking for ways to recycle, re-use and reduce waste.
Karen explained the fusing art is quite simple; cut plastic bags into squares and stack them eight ply with baking paper on the top and the bottom of the pile. Iron them together. The grey bags can be stacked in the middle and the coloured ones on the top and bottom. To weave them together cut strips of the plastic into plarn (yard made from plastic) and knit, weave or crochet just like you would with the traditional yarn. Other items like the grey and white jacket pictured can be sewn together on a sewing machine as this is an alternative option.
Great Jacket made from recycling the plastic bag, complete with necklace and shoulder bag
This year in July, Karen was invited to Warwick for the Annual Jazz and Jumper Festival to assist in the dressing up of the Tree Exhibition and she has been invited back in 2015 to also hold workshops.
Art-bombing tree Main Street Wellington Point (Photo courtesy Tiffany Warner Photography)
A couple of weekends ago, along with Council approval Karen art-bombed the tree outside Village Creative in Wellington Point and hopes that the idea can be adopted in The Redlands by other artists and people just wanting ta day of artistic fun.
So why not think of the plastic bag in a different light and have some fun in making items to be used and worn from something that is usually discarded.