We are excited to continue our weekly series, FeelGood Features, with fiber artist Skye Rayburn! FeelGood Features will showcase 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 demonstrate the ways in which you, too, can incorporate sustainable materials into your craft. Thanks for being here!
About Skye: I grew up with my mom quilting every now and then. I thought it was “old lady” stuff. Ha! I did not start sewing until college, when I decided to study fashion in 2001. I took some mandatory fibers classes and my love for textiles grew from there. Fast forward to 2011 with me working as a textile designer for JCPenney, and I was so burned out. I started making quilts as a way of creating something tangible and something that contained both function and beauty.
How do you source your materials?
I find the majority of my materials from flea markets, antique stores, thrift shops and estate sales. Sometimes a friend or acquaintance may give me a textile they think I might like. I find it hard to say no if it’s being given away, even if it’s currently causing me storage problems.
Were there any particular challenges or surprises to using upcycled materials?
Second hand fabrics had a previous life and they were either very loved or forgotten about, so there will often be rips and mystery stains. I don’t mind the rips, as that means I get to mend them! When it comes to stains, I will try my best to get it out, but if they prove too stubborn I will overdye or appliqué over it.
What would be your advice to someone who is curious about using sustainable materials in their own work?
Be open to any type of material. There are so many different fabrications and textures to play with. Experiment! If there is hesitation on using two (or more) very different fabrics together, make a mini sample to troubleshoot.
Thank you, Skye! What great advice! To follow along with Skye, find her gorgeous account on Instagram.