Hey there! Heard of Peggy Claire?
She is one splendid human who has caught our eye with her original recycled style! (see what we did there?)
When and how did you start creating?
I was born into a very creative household. There is always something being made, built or recycled. During my primary years I attended a couple of schools that inspired and grew my creativity.
The first thing I ever made was in ‘quiet time’ at kindergarten. I was four. We had to figure knit long strands of colourful wool that would eventually be wound and sewn into a turtle shell cushion. I remember being the first to finish, and my classmates and I stretched my wonky stand from one side of the classroom to the other.
When I was eight I learnt to crochet. My world has never been the same.
What do you love about designing and creating clothes?
I love fashion, dresses, and I love big skirts. I love the way fashion can make you feel. Being crafty is something that comes naturally to me, crochet is like my second language. (My friends call me a granny). I love the way something like a plastic bag or ball of wool can be transformed into something useful and beautiful.
How do you feel when you finish one of your creations?
When I finish a project (especially a dress), I feel inspired and satisfied. I imagine what it would be like for someone else to wear it, and where they would wear it to. When I complete a paper dress, I know its life will be transient, and maybe it will only be worn once, to one party. For me that gives it a special quality.
What is the hardest part about it?
At the moment my life is filled with the HSC! I am in year 11 so I have to plan and work hard to give myself the space to create.
What draws you to recycling materials?
I am surrounded by upcycled and recycled objects. Even my house! It was about to be demolished, but instead was cut in half, put on the back of a truck and relocated from Sydney to the Blue Mountains.
For me, it seems natural to recycle and reuse the things we already have, making them better and different from their previous uses. I believe we need look after our planet as best we can, and our culture is not always so good at that.
Can you walk us through the steps of making a 'rubbish' dress?
I usually only have a vague idea of what I plan to create when I begin, so it’s mostly improvisation and experimentation. First I have to collect different materials. This ordinarily means posting on Facebook or asking around my neighborhood for plastic bags, newspapers or labels. Then I either begin to crochet or stick pieces together using a glue gun, sticky tape or the sewing machine until I come up with a dress. Ta-da!
Which piece are you most proud of?
The first recycled dress I made. It was for a major year 11 project and I had the inspiration of combining my love for crochet with my interest in recycling and upcycling. It took me four months to create the dress, and I watched in wonder as it grew into a wearable piece of art. My dear friend kindly made a little film of me frolicking about it in.
What has influenced your work?
I live in a very creative family! My mum especially. Ever since I can remember she has always been collaging, stitching and crocheting. When my brother and I were little she used to come up with projects that we would do together. She also encouraged and supported me to undertake textiles by correspondence, as my school does not offer the subject.
What else do you do for fun?
I have great friends and family, I dance and do yoga once a week.
What is your favourite breakfast food?
Toast! But on the weekends when my Dad is home and cooking he makes us all poached eggs, also on toast.
What is in store for the future?
Well first I need to complete my HSC, but beyond that I have great hopes of continuing to create beautiful recycled wearable dresses full of colour and life!
Have you been inspired to recycle or upcycle? How are you already recycling and upcycling?