Old Coat to New Treasures


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At a recent show in Tampa FL, the promoter had asked the artists to participate in challenge called “Old Coat to New Treasure”. We were asked to create a piece using an old coat. I found this one at a thrift store – it was heavy brown fabric with an acrylic plush lining.

The plush was a mixed grey color, with a very dense pile and thick knit backing. Using the lining from the hood, I created a 7″ jointed bear.

Due to the thickness of the pile and backing, I stitched the entire bear by hand, using some black faux suede fabric for the paw and foot pads, as well as the inner ears. The bear was given black glass eyes and a purple perle cotton nose and finished with a sheer purple ribbon bow.

The bear was finished, but I still had all the lining from the rest of the coat and I had been mulling an idea for quite a while. My next creation using this plush included not only the fabric from this coat, but a variety of other recycled materials – upholstery fabric samples, three different types of wire, and of all things, a black plastic garden flowerpot.

Marty the moth’s body is made from the coat lining. His wings are made from two upholstery fabric samples, the upper ones accented with beading and the lower ones quilted. Welding rod wire was used for the wing armature.
The proboscis (mouth) is a scrap of electric wire fencing and the legs are made from wire coat hanger covered in fibers and faux suede. And the plastic flowerpot – that made the feathery antennae.

Marty’s body is quite plump, the result of stuffing and item made from a knit backed plush – it tends to stretch quite a bit.  I have just received some new fabric from another bear maker with a woven backing. I am looking forward to trying a new moth with that. 

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