We are excited to continue our weekly series, FeelGood Features, with fiber artist Adele Deloris Riley! FeelGood Features showcases artitsts that work primarily with upcycled/recycled and sustainable materials. Because it’s not only important WHY we quilt, but it’s also important HOW we quilt. Our hope is that this series will introduce you to artists that you will love learning about and will demonstrate the ways in which you, too, can incorporate sustainable materials into your craft. Thanks for being here!
Adele Deloris Riley
About Adele: I have always been fascinated with textiles and fabric manipulation processes — changing the aesthetic of an everyday material into tactile luxurious fibers, and transforming them into original artworks. It’s a true passion.
How do you source your materials?
Having a sustainable approach, I often visit local charity shops on the hunt for bed linens and curtains. I am lucky to often receive donations of vintage and reclaimed fabrics or to be commissioned to use personal materials. Breathing new life into fabrics that would otherwise be discarded brings more fulfillment to the process.
Does using these materials have any additional impact/value for you personally?
I love being able to create artworks by recycling fabrics that hold sentimental value. I was recently commissioned to incorporate the beloved shirts of a father-in law and felt that I was weaving memories into the piece that would last forever and be enjoyed by the family. It’s always an honour working to these briefs.
Were there any particular challenges or surprises to using upcycled materials?
I can often start with a bright, vivid fabric that can turn into a soft pastel colour once manipulated, which can be really challenging if I have a set colour palette I am working towards. I always welcome these challenges though as it can push me out of my comfort zone or force me to rethink a technique or method.
What would be your advice to someone who is curious about using sustainable materials in their own work?
There are so many fantastic materials ready to be upcycled and explored creatively. I find recycling fabrics can take the pressure off being too precious and encourage artistic experimentation.