Joelle Harris eco wardrobe warrior


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Today’s guest is Joelle Harris from JoelleHarris.co.uk. Joelle is an eco wardrobe warrior whose mission is to keep clothing out of landfill . She transforms discarded clothing into beautiful wearable garments. She also uses eco-print and natural dye inspired by the British Countryside

What you will learn in this episode

• How Joelle went to college as a mature student to study textiles
• How we can all help prevent so much clothing ending up in landfill
• Where Joelle gets her inspiration
• How you can dye wool and material using plants you can find in your garden
• How you can create beautiful fabric patterns by eco printing leaves
• Some simple ways to upcycle clothing
• Some of the people that inspire Joelle

How Joelle went to college as a mature student to study textiles

Joelle went to college at age 50 and studied for a degree in Textiles at Hull School of Art and Design. She had always done lots of craft and dressmaking but she wanted to learn more about the design side of things. She spent a lot of time there looking at natural dyes. She’s very much into the environment and looking after the planet. After college she decided she wanted to make it her mission to keep clothing out of landfill.

How we can all help prevent so much clothing ending up in landfill

She recommends following the advice of people like Vivienne Westwood and thinking more about what we are buying. If we buy quality items that we invest in, they will last longer. We will also value them more than buying cheap clothing that soon gets discarded.

Where Joelle gets her inspiration

Joelle takes her inspiration from nature and the environment around her. This includes bricks and tiles from her local area and inspiration from a sailing theme incorporating elements of ship plans and navigation marks.

How you can dye wool and material using plants you can find in your garden

Joelle explains how you can use many plants from your garden to create dyes including nettles and rosemary. You don’t always get the colours you might expect though and reds are notoriously difficult to create.

Joelle Harris red onion skin yew dye eco textiles

©Copyright Joelle Harris

How you can create beautiful fabric patterns by eco printing leaves

Joelle hosts workshops where she teaches people to use fallen leaves to create prints onto fabric. This is done using leaves, a rusty water mixture made from leaving nails in water and vinegar. Then the material and leaves are allowed to steam for up to an hour.

Joelle Harris eco print with leaves on material

©Joelle Harris

Some simple ways to upcycle clothing

One of the easiest things to do with an old shirt is to make a cushion cover as the buttons are a ready-made opening. You can also easily adapt jumpers by removing lace or trimmings or changing elements.

Some of the people and Books that inspire Joelle

Catherine Ellis – Wovern Shibori
Woven Shibori is a process of weaving and resist that Catherine Ellis developed in the early 1990’s and has continued to evolve both technically and artistically.

India Flint
Book – Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles
Book – Second Skin book about valuing clothing

Alice Fox who does rust dying
Book – Natural Processes in Textile Art: From Rust Dyeing to Found Objects

Debbie Lyddon
An artist and maker based in Surrey and Norfolk, UK. Her creative practice explores landscape and place and includes mixed media cloths, sculpture, installation and drawing.

Connect with Joelle

Joelle’s website and blog are at www.joelleharris.co.uk, you can also find her on Facebook  and Instagram

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