Visual

Textile Talk

Waste not, want not

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I was rooting through a gigantic pile of clothes at Shuksan Middle School’s annual fundraising sale last weekend when one of the organizers announced that, since the event was in its final hour, all clothing could be purchased for 50 cents per bag.

As my boyfriend patiently waited below the stage where the men’s and women’s choices were scattered pell-mell, I burrowed deeper into the mountain of fabric, pulling out items I thought might fit my form and tossing them to him. I didn’t stop my frenzied mission until he’d filled the paper grocery sack.

“If something doesn’t fit, I can always donate it to Ragfinery,” I told my guy when he inquired why I hadn’t tried on anything I’d stuffed into the bag—which included a plethora of shirts, pajama bottoms, a corduroy jacket, a couple of bras, two sweaters and a pair of socks. “Plus, I’m paying 50 cents for everything, so I can afford to take the risk.”

Miracle of miracles, when we got home and I tried on my finds, everything except a couple of the shirts fit me. But when I made a pile of what I couldn’t use, I realized it was time for other items in my closet to go. When I finished culling, the original grocery sack was full again.

With my own circular example of textile waste directly in front of me, and with Earth Day just around the corner, it seemed like a good time to revisit just what happens to all the clothing in the United States that ends up being discarded.

A handy guide on Ragfinery’s website helped me understand the enormity of the issue. Numerically, 25 billion pounds of textiles—including clothing, footwear, accessories, towels, bedding, drapery, etc.—are generated each year, adding up to about 82 pounds per resident. Of that 82 pounds, 15 percent (3.8 billion pounds) eventually gets donated or recycled, and 85 percent (70 pounds per person) ends up in landfills. All told, it amount to approximately 21 billion pounds of post-consumer textile waste per year, and accounts for more than 5.2 percent of all municipal solid waste generated in the United States.

Since 2014, Ragfinery has been diverting textiles that would’ve ended up in the waste stream and collaborating with local artisans and volunteers to upcycle community donations. Additionally, the venue at 1421 N. State Street provides “jobs from waste” by training low-income workers to creatively repurpose post-consumer textiles into products of value—such as backpacks, designer pillows, summer dresses, hats, yoga bags, aprons, scarves and more.

Additionally, workshops such as “Visible Mending,” “Sewing Bootcamp,” “Introduction to Weaving,” “No-Sew Braided Rugs” and more help participants learn how to transform used textiles. And, on May 19, Ragfinery’s “Cirque du Couture” fundraiser will see 25 contestants transforming castaway materials into runway-ready designs. In their hands, it won’t be trash, but wearable treasure.

For more info, go to http://www.ragfinery.com

Btown Valentines
More Visual...
Creative Uprising
Of marching and mending

At last year’s Women’s March on Bellingham, the streets of the downtown core were packed to the gills with citizens of varying ages, ethnicities, sexualities and genders. If the many thousands of humans who joined the throng hadn’t been there to give voice to the fact that they were opposed…

more »
The Good Stuff
Farmland and beyond

What must the highway patrol have thought, finding Alfred Currier working on a sketch pad atop the Swinomish Channel highway bridge? Only when a fortunate construction project shut the traffic lane was the persistent and highly respected artist able to complete his sketches for another…

more »
Hall of Birds
An exhibition reinvention

I hadn’t realized trumpeter swans were exponentially bigger than full-grown bald eagles until I saw one of each hanging out in near proximity to each other at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall the other afternoon.

Determined to soak up the last vestiges of Christmas, my fella and I had…

more »
Events
Today
Cascade Games Convention

9:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Wild Things

9:30am|Lake Padden Park

Garage Sale and Health Fair

12:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Books and Bites

2:00pm|Blaine Library

Post-Holiday Detox

2:00pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Art Auction Gala

5:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Anacortes Women's March

6:00pm|Depot Arts Center

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Sierra Club Winter Member Party

6:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Xanadu

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Opera Scenes

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

The Flick

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Tropical Heat Wave Dance

8:00pm|Majestic

Space Trek, Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Five for Fighting

8:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
Cascade Games Convention

9:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Garage Sale and Health Fair

12:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Xanadu

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

The Flick

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Space Trek, Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Smoking Crow Opening

9:00am|Smoking Crow

Mason Bee Management

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Nordic Ski Ambassadors

10:00am|SnoPark at Salmon Ridge

Plant Society Field Trip

10:00am|Birch Bay State Park

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Howard Miller Steelhead Park

March on Bellingham

10:00am|Bellingham City Hall

Winter Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Of marching and mending

12:00pm

Travel to Cuzco and Machu PIcchu

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Mysticism in Art

2:00pm|Skagit County Historical Museum

Mona Openings

2:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Cedar Weaving Workshop

2:00pm|Lynden Library

Teddy Bear Biographies

2:00pm|Ferndale Library

Exploring Port

2:00pm|Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Learn to Grow a Vegetable Garden

2:00pm|Sumas Library

The Fight Against Human Trafficking

3:00pm|Everson Library

Kindgom Quest

4:00pm|Village Books

Music and Memories

5:00pm|Swinomish Casino & Lodge

Robert Burns Supper

5:30pm|Littlefield Celtic Center

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Ensemble Electra

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

The Good Lovelies

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Sunday
Cascade Games Convention

9:00am|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Bellingham Folk Festival

4:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Xanadu

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Skagit Eagle Festival

10:00am|Howard Miller Steelhead Park

Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Bellingham Chamber Music Society

3:00pm|First Congregational Church

Nonfiction and Memoir Writing Group

3:00pm|Village Books

Southside Community Meal

5:00pm|Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Way North Comedy

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 FiveFor Village Books