I have a confession to make. There are plastic bags stashed all over my house. I must have hundreds. It’s become a bit of an addiction. Someone call Hoarders, because I just can’t seem to let go— I have to have plastic bags in my life. I mean, we are at the point where I am raiding the plastic bag recycle bin at MOM’s just so I can have more!
That said, there is an upside to my recent obsession that helps the environment and feeds my creativity at the same time. I recently discovered the joys of creating objects made with “plarn”… otherwise known as plastic yarn made out of those pesky plastic shopping bags. As a fiber artist, I am constantly looking for new material to explore… and when my dad gave me some bags crocheted of plarn a while back, I knew that we were onto something big. They are beautiful and durable and well, you actually have to tell people what they are made of as the appearance conceals the origin of the material!
It took me a bit to figure out how to create my own plarn and subsequent projects. Finally, I stumbled across this great website. Eureka! My first couple of exploits have been small and humble, yet I am already finding fun ways to use this material and the joy of being able to manipulate color and composition by varying the types of bags and stitches used. So far, two little pot scrubbers have been born (each using up about 10 bags!) and a basket is in progress. In the basket (shown below), the spacing of different bag colors creates regular and interesting shifts in the pattern.
I am past the point of no return. So here I sit, hopelessly addicted to plastic, loving that I am finding a way to simultaneously help protect the Earth and nourish the creative spirit. This is what life is all about.
Fair warning: if you see a gleeful MOM’s employee rummaging through the recycle bins one day, muttering about color and such, please do not be alarmed. In fact, come on over and I will happily give you a quick lesson in plarn crochet.
Elizabeth works at MOMs Alexandria.