Friday, October 15, 2010

Kurban Trash

I'm completely fascinated with fused plastic bags at the moment. Not that I've actually done it, but just finished leafing through an eco craft book and I keep seeing things about it all over the place. I'm itching to try it out, but between prepping for holiday shows and getting two kids to soccer practice/games, there hasn't been a spare moment to melt anything. Well, as long as you don't count the kids after a soccer practice with no snacks. (Always remember the snacks!)
Since it seems I won't be making any myself in the near future, I'll just post a bit about one of the local designers who's work got me thinking about all the possibilities again.

K of Kurban Trash moved here recently from Orlando, Florida. She was kind enough to send along some info about herself and her work, so I'll just let her tell you all about it.
I had never sewed a stitch on a sewing machine until December 25, 2008. My mom bought me a new basic Singer machine and it is what I still use today. I started patching up pants and shorts that I had ripped and worn from everyday bike riding.
I was unemployed and bored and started making wallets from clothes and scraps that i know longer wore. One night in Jacksonville I was talking to a few girls outside of a cafe, they invited me to their craft night. So I ask what they were "crafting" and one of the girls told me about fusing plastic bags together and then hand stitching them into tote bags. I didn't think too much of it until I took a visit to my mom's house in Orlando and noticed in the midst of her cluttered living room large trash bags stuffed with plastic bags. Almost immediately after asking if she was keeping them for any good reason I started cutting them into sheets and experimenting with melting 4 or 5 layers between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Once I realized the endless amount of designs & collages I could make out of layered plastic fused together I was hooked.

Fusing plastic makes a durable, water proof material that is easily stitched. It was practically free for me, all I had to buy were needles, thread and velcro. So yeah, the hobby was on. I look at plastic bags in a completely different way now. I never use one or take one at a store when buying something. There really is no need to. I have friends that have traveled all over the world and bring me bags, from their grandparents pantry to west berlin. There hasn't been 500 years of scientific study on the time it takes one bag to break down in a landfill, on our streets, or in our waterways, but that is the least amount of time scientists are estimating.

I started using a basic clothing iron to fuse plastic. Recently I invested in a heavy duty heat press that gives a more consistent press throughout the entire sheet. I still use medium weight needles, Gutermann thread, and bulk velcro. I work with mainly plastic, but will try to reuse just about any material. I have worked with all sorts of reused fabrics, old and scrap pool table felt, and bicycle tubes.
I am currently making 4 styles of wallets, coin purses, cell phone/mp3 soft cases with an optional attachment to loop onto a belt or bag strap, several styles and sizes of hip bags, u-lock holders, and top tube pads. Most everything I make can be customized. i.e. wallets have some options like clear id pockets, velcro, snap, or button closures, clear picture pocket, condom pocket, stash pocket, custom embroidery, eyelet for keys or carabiner, etc… I am always accepting plastic donations of all types as long as the are clean.

K is hoping to have her Etsy shop up soon, but until then you can find her work at Wheatsville Co-op (on a shelf behind the vitamin counter), East Side Peddle Pushers and Fast Folks Cyclery, which also has a couple hip bags for sale. 

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