Monday, January 6, 2014

ort beads

I love scraps. Scraps of fabric, fiber, paper, you name it.  Orts, the bits of thread and yarn left over from fiber projects, have always been one of my favorites, and I have saved most of the bits from my work over the years- stashing them in ziplock bags and showcasing them in jars around my house. I have had this bit tacked up on this blog since the blog was created...

Orts are the tiny snippets of thread left over from sewing and embroidery. For many generations and in many cultures these bits of thread held great importance. On a base level, they represented a part of a resource (thread) that still had use as fire starter materials, stuffing, etc. But there was a higher significance as well. These were remnants of the spirit of the artists or crafts persons who used them. So, like hair or cast off clothes, orts gained a spiritual designation and were saved for special uses. They have been found in “Witch Jars” in Viking Era York and Colonial Era New England in both Pagan and Christian context. In Latin America, they are mixed in with the straw in the Christmas Manger Scene. Overall, they are considered to be lucky and full of positive energy. (Originally posted at Work of My Hands blog)

Today I was looking for something different to work on. I took out bunches of tangled up orts from one of the bags and started balling them up in my hand. Picked up a needle and filament and started shaping them, the end result, these little 3/4" fiber beads that I'm kind of digging a lot. I might go back in and add some beads, or maybe pull the whole thing together with some embroidery thread surface stitching.  They are very lightweight as they are made entirely of threads. I have some other ideas I will be exploring as well with the orts. 

1 comment:

  1. so.. have you thought of doing the "reverse"..? Shredding those bits down to the fibers and adding them to your Spinning wool? Or, to some Felting..?


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