Upcycling DesignsFrancesca Palange
I’m the designer of Zestria, the one that sews, knits, crochets, weaves, spins, embroiders, that is looking for fabrics and runs the virtual business, that makes the coffee in the mornings and sweeps the floor in the evening.
I remember the very day when my grandmother taught me to sew cross stitch. She made beautiful tablecloths or wall cloths enriched with so many ancient symbols like the tree of life, spirals, sun, moon, zigzags… She had no pattern, she knew all by heart… her mother taught her… Then she taught me how to spin… she used only natural fibers like wool – with so many earthly colors…
When we had enough yarn she taught me how to knit and to crochet. It was basic knit and cable knit and simple crochet, nothing fancy. Living in the countryside we had to make durable clothes like vests, gloves, socks and cardigans to keep us warm in the winter. And the days past. And that was a mystical, traditional Time for me…
I grew up in a small city. My mother taught me some modern techniques like how to embroider and how to use the sewing machine, well, that was fancy for me…Raised in the city, my mother has the talent to make something beautiful out of nothing. All the clothes we had when we were children were made by my mom.
That was the time, mystical as well, when I was taught creativity…
Now I’m a mother living in the consumerism era and wandering between ancient and modern I’m trying to create sustainable art… This way I am teaching my child the knowledge from the past and the intuition from the future.
Every piece in my shop is handmade or upcycled. Every element in the product is eco friendly. I use only recycled materials: fabrics, lace, yarn, threads, buttons. I’m also a vintage fan so you might find vintage inspired stuff among my things.
There is no USE in buying new materials because our Earth is full of forgotten, Out of Trend clothes. So the wearables I make are little phoenix birds trying to find everyone of you.
I choose mostly natural fibers and/or fabric. If I choose acrylic or polyester in my upcycling or handmade products is only because I truly found a purpose for that very piece.
Every article is unique and I can’t and won’t duplicate.
The wearables I make are also therapeutic. I bless every item while making it and before sending!
Flower Necklace: Every element is recycled. To create the base of the necklace I used here acrylic ribbon and I crocheted it (the ribbon is from a blouse that I bought from a thrift store). The flowers are made in organza and tulle, also recycled (from underskirts). The beads and sequins are recycled too (they are from second hand coats and blouses, some of them are from vintage items). For the leaves I used pale green cotton thread that I bought from a secondhand store. The closure is adjustable, for the closing part I used a textile bead that I made from recycled jeans.
Lichen Necklace: For this necklace I used merino wool thread that I bought from a secondhand store. It has a beautiful pale green color and is very soft, which makes the necklace so comfy to wear. The little flower shaped sequins are from a box that my mother gave me about 15 years ago.
The Frida Khalo Skirt: the skirt is made using a base skirt which is made in beautiful brown linen.The base skirt is vintage and it has a really cool lace at the bottom. For the upper skirt I used a blouse that has folklore motives – I very much like ethnic motives and symbols – sewn together with bright colours. The blouse is also a vintage piece and I’m glad I rescued parts of it, because otherwise it would have faded away. I used also my ‘chaotic sewing technique’ and to make it more artsy I used a “thread” that is from a brown t-shirt yarn (my own brown t-shirt was recycled into yarn!)
Pull&Bear Bracelet: I named this bracelet Pull&Bear because I recycled the Pull&Bear label here. I couldn’t help it. I do tend to recycle everything I can. For the base of the bracelet I used recycled denim (from jeans my friends and family and I did’t wear anymore). I also used vintage lace and tulle, the metal chain and silver sequins.
The Hybrid Dress: to make this dress I recycled two blouses and a vest. They were both vintage items (If not antique) that were fading away in a thrift store. The upper part is bright pink almost carmine, at the bottom of it you can see my crocheting (the light brown and khaki parts of the dress are also made of recycled cotton ribbon yarn that I found in a thrift store and it was brand new!). The skirt part is a blouse, also rescued and upcycled. The lace part at the bottom of the skirt is from the antique crocheted cotton vest (I really think the vest is from the 60′ or 70′) that I mentioned above.
Find Zestria and all her upcycled creations on Facebook
The latest issue of the print magazine packed with interviews and features on eco and heritage artists and artisans is available now.
You can talk to No Serial Number Magazine too. Join our Twitter conversation (#noserialnumber) as we talk to eco artisans and designers changing the way we think about our lifestyle choices. You can also share your views and keep up to date with our latest articles by joining the newsletter or following us on Facebook.