Featured Member: Liz Plummer

Hi! My name is Liz Plummer and I’m a textile and mixed media artist living in South Wales in the UK.

How did you get started in your chosen craft?
I have always been interested in sewing, knitting and crafts of various kinds, but I took a City & Guilds course in Patchwork and Quilting when my youngest son started school, where we learnt design as well as dyeing and painting fabric and that really started me off. The groups and support I found on the Internet encouraged me to continue and I started a blog called Dreaming Spirals in 2005 to document my progress and my sources of inspiration…. the rest is history!

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?

A lot of my art originates from nature and from the effects of light and reflections. For instance I did a series of postcards sparked off by trying to depict the reflections of the light during rain. I get a lot of ideas just walking around town. I have also done a lot of rust dyeing, from wrapping fabric around rusty objects. I love the colour and texture of rust and the effects of aging on metal objects.

How do you make your craft or Etsy store eco friendly?

I use a lot of upcycled things in my work – felted sweaters made into postcards, thread offcuts trapped under tulle to make cool new textures, brown paper which makes a great base when painted and scrunched up. The collage below has brown paper as a base and is mounted on the grid from a disposable barbecue. Also I recycle packaging wherever possible. Sometimes my workroom threatens to turn into a bubble wrap mountain!

Which piece in your shop is your current favourite?

There are several which would be contenders for this title, but my current favourite is Fantasy Garden, I think. It evolved naturally without a clear plan – I stitched on to it in response to the colours of the fabric and the texture which was created by the different stitch shapes. I love the feel of it now and would like to crawl underneath the stems and blossoms!

What steps have you taken to lead a green lifestyle?

I walk a lot, mainly because I hate driving! I try and take public transport wherever possible. I recycle as much as possible – we have a very good Council which encourages this by having a weekly recycling collection – and I compost all vegetable waste. I try and turn appliances off when I am not using them … I think it is a matter of trying to get into good habits one by one rather than doing it all at once, getting overwhelmed and giving up. And I also try and work with nature rather than against it, by, for instance, trying to foster good bacteria rather than using antibacterial wipes and killing off all the bugs in sight, building up immunity by eating yoghurt and kefir, trying to eat healthily (not always succeeding!). Trying to encourage wildlife in the garden by not being too tidy (read “overgrown garden”!) …

What is the most eco-friendly purchase you have made?

I think that, ironically, it is what I have NOT purchased. I am trying not to buy so much, especially on the High Street, and to think about what I do buy. The way clothes are made are largely unfairly traded and use so many resources that I have consciously tried to buy as many fair-trade or organic clothes as possible, which has actually meant not buying so many as I have to get most of them online! It requires a real change in thinking. Luckily there is a very good UK website which focuses on developments in fair-trade, called New Consumer – http://www.newconsumer.com/ .

My Etsy shop is http://lizplummer.etsy.com/ and if you’d like to read my blog, its address is http://lizplummer.com/blog . I also have a website at http://www.lizplummer.com/

Instead of an eco tip, Liz has very kindly written a tutorial: Printing with Waste Materials.

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