Now that the semester’s work is almost done, I can spend some more time on dyeing! Cutting the reclaimed t-shirts, re-seaming them, and preparing them for the dye bath. Recycled fashion!
I’m not sure whether it was the content of the most recent Masters Public Health intensive subject (which included an introductory look at the world’s nuclear threat, by Richard Tanter, who currently works with the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability) or perhaps I am just really, really tired – but today’s session at the overlocker I was feeling overwhelmed by the number of humans in our world, with all their hopes, and fears, and simple-complex mundane lives.
I overlock the seams of the reclaimed t-shirts with new red thread, because the polyester thread on them doesn’t dye red. It’s a dusty job, and I feel very appreciative of another #placentaproject member, Kylie, who did the job for the first several hundred t-shirts…! (thanks Kylie <3 ). It's also fairly smelly... you know, that smell from when you've shoved that pile of once-worn t-shirts in the back of the drawer there; they're not dirty enough to wash, not really clean enough to put away... so they drape over a chair, or at the end of the bed. Eventually, they either get washed or thrown in the op shop bag. We have so much wealth we forget how much stuff we have.
Anyway, sewing at a hundred miles an hour the smell of unwashed human wafts up with the cotton fibre. Airborne. It made me think of the human hands that had touched each garment. The ones cutting the fabric and sewing it. The ones packing it and shipping it. The ones unpacking and shelving it. The ones, touching, lifting, sizing, and maybe buying it. The wearing of it, over and over (only 7 times, apparently); laundering, hanging, folding. Then the discarding. And the sorting by the volunteers at the opshop. Finally to me, to be washed, dyed, cut, and knitted by the #placentaproject knitters.
Life goes so fast. If there was a way to measure the human hours of earnest sweat absorbed into garments. Not just the earnest sweat, but also the nervous sweat, the self-loathing or the self-confidence, the elated sweat, the sweat of relief or the sweat of fear. Each human with a subtle difference in odour.
Life is mess.
Into the dye bath…