I'm excited about this project because it has many firsts for me. As an artist who primarily works in the clay realm, I wanted to try something new that I have never done before. I enjoy taking art classes outside of ceramics to learn new skills and to help me think outside of my everyday studio materials. Learning how to use Rhino, laser cutting, and making a jean quilt/tapestry are all first for me.
After playing on Rhino and getting used to working digitally, I came up with an idea of what I wanted to do. To laser cut a jean quilt/tapestry. My family has a long history of making quilts, especially quilts made from old jeans. In my family, no pair of jeans go to waste; instead, repurposed, reused, and re-imaged into something new. I have fond memories of both my grandparents working together to cut, layout, and sew the pieces of quilts together. Knowing my grandparents keeps old jeans, I called my gram to ask her if she had any pairs that I could have. Gram saves the day and tells me she has ten pairs. I then turned to what I do best, which is being hands-on with the material. I can only design so much inside my head. Often I find when working with an idea the materials' needs and limitations will end up informing and or guiding the work.
I thought about how to utilize each pair of jeans an attempting to keep scrap waste to a minimum, and also figuring out how to repurpose any jean waste. I wanted to see what my idea would look like on a miniature scale before I started cutting up the jeans. The closest thing that I could find on a whim that would be sufficient enough in representing the jean color was this blue bandana. I also decided to use red thread as my primary serging color.
Happy with the result, I then took all the jeans, and steam ironed them to get them to be as flat and pressed as possible. Folding the jeans with the front sides in, I cut just below the back pocket. I wanted to preserve the back pocket of the jeans to save for a later quilt, leaving the legs of the jeans, which would then be cut into approximately three-inch strips and then serged together.
The blue tape on the floor serves as the maximum size of the laser cutter bed.
*number of strip varies from photo, note that i did change the length of my jean panels to include only fourteen jean strips.
By the end of the day I ended up with six jean panels.
Up Next: Laser cutting the jean panels