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ART FIX: How do you make a leather dress out of kombucha?

ART FIX: How do you make a leather dress out of kombucha?

Friday 15 October 2021

ART FIX: How do you make a leather dress out of kombucha?

Friday 15 October 2021

A local textile artist has created leafy dresses out of recycled satin and kombucha-grown 'leather' to provoke conversations about sustainability.

Every Friday, Express presents a selection of online and offline exhibitions, performances, workshops, events and other historic, creative and delicious content to help islanders get their weekly dose of culture.

Here’s this week’s offering...

Resilient nature


Pictured: Skipton Big Ideas takes place at the Town Church until 4 November.

As part of Skipton Big Ideas, which marks 10 years of partnership between ArtHouse Jersey and Skipton International, several local artists have created pieces of sustainable fashion or wearable art. Local textile artist Bianca Padidar has created not one but two dresses which will feature in a 'Walking Gallery' catwalk show tonight, tomorrow and Sunday.

Having discovered her ‘artistic fibre’ at an early age, Bianca gravitated towards textile art as her specialty partly out of a fascination for patterns.

After working as a designer-maker in Huddersfield, where she learned skills she could equally apply to fashion and sculpture among others, she took a year out to work in South Africa as part of a poverty alleviation programme to help local communities use their traditional methods for beadwork, weaving and dyeing to produce work for a more modern market.


Pictured: Bianca in her classroom at JCG.

She then worked as a full-time artist for several years, collaborating with art galleries and even Vogue magazine, before her persistent love for teaching led her to train to become a textile art teacher, a path which eventually led her to become Head of Textiles at Jersey College for Girls. 

While she is the teacher, Bianca says she is constantly learning different processes which she then puts into practice into her creative work.

When she heard that one of the key themes for ‘Skipton Big Ideas’ was sustainability, Bianca didn’t hesitate to take part, given her huge interest for traditional processes and techniques, such as indigo dyeing or shibori – a Japanese manual tie-dyeing technique, which produces a number of different patterns on fabric.


Pictured: Bianca at work on 'Resilient nature'.

“The whole idea behind it was completely up my street,” she said. “I knew I could rise to the challenge, and I knew what I wanted to do. I think about my work as a kind of mimicry of nature. I get endless inspiration for my design and processes from nature. I am always working with an element of surprise, I let nature take its course, it’s completely organic.”

For the ‘Walking Gallery’ - an alternative fashion show bringing sustainability, accessibility and identity to the runway on Thursday 14, Friday 15 and Saturday 16 October - she decided to create two pieces. 

‘Resilient Nature’ is made of ‘ReGenesis Heavy Satin’, a material created from plastic bottles, on which she has added handstitched ginkgo leaves printed on handmade paper held together by recycled telephone wires.


Pictured: ‘Resilient Nature’ is made of ‘ReGenesis Heavy Satin’.

The dress and the flowers feature a pattern repeating a negative from a picture of ginkgo leaves Bianca took in Hong-Kong. Bianca created the original image using a cyanotype, an 18th century photographic printing technique used by botanist Anna Atkins to record plants, and loved the result so much she has been finding herself drawn to it over and over again.

“I use a lot of Japanese processes and the ginkgo tree is quite symbolic in their lives because ginkgo trees survived Hiroshima,” she explained. I wanted to show how you can interpret nature into your work and how we are able to adapt and be resilient through our environment.”

For her second dress, ‘Fragmented Nature’, Bianca has been growing her own leather out of kombucha tea.

As she explained, when kombucha is allowed to ferment and with the addition of ‘scoby’ - a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast – a skin forms on top the top and carries on growing.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bianca Padidar (@biancapadidarfibreart)


Once the skin is ready, Bianca washes it, lays it out and it dries into a cellulose leather which she has been dyeing using beetroots and cutting into modular shapes that clip together.

Although her original ideas evolved during the pandemic as she had time to invest in and learn new processes, they both remain wearable art, which Bianca favours.

“I think it’s just got much more expression, it’s good sometimes to go a bit out there with your designs rather than create designs to wear,” she said.

“I am always constructing. I prefer stuff that is a bit more avant-garde and more expressive rather than create a line ready to wear. It’s more sculpted and has more texture. I definitely like to make a statement.”


A voyage into inspiring art

Kairos Arts will be setting up an art exhibition featuring work by women affected by domestic abuse and a pop up shop at Liberty Whart next week as part of an island-wide awareness campaign.

The charity provides therapeutic creative therapy workshops for islanders with mental health issues and survivors of domestic or sexual abuse.

Cathy Sara, Founder and Creative Director of Kairos Arts, said the team was very excited about the event.

“We are passionate about helping people to express their feelings, hopes, joys and fears through the creative arts and to help restore hope, dignity and worth to people recovering from trauma, including domestic violence," she said.

“We do this in various ways, including through local workshops and sessions which Kairos Arts offer with our trained teams of Therapeutic Art Practitioners. This art installation at Liberty Wharf has been created by women affected by domestic violence intentionally to be seen by the public.

The theme of the Art Installation is ‘Voyage’ and past workshop participants have spent a month collaborating, exploring how they might express their experiences of 'coercive, controlling behaviours' using voyages as a metaphorical springboard to express those unique journeys.  

Alongside the Art Installation, Kairos Arts will be holding a ‘pop-up shop’ with products made by women transitioning out of sex work or who have been rescued from trafficking in India and Bali.

'The Jersey Show'

Tony Parsons

Pictured: Tony Parsons said he wasn't prepared for Jersey.

A professional artist who spent five days painting in the island in September 2020 is showing the fruit of his artistic explorations in St. Martin’s Methodist Church today until 17:00.

Sussex-based Tony Parsons explained last year that he had initially been approached by an islander that had bought paintings from him previously, and had suggested doing a show on the island.

Though Tony had been selling paintings along his local South Coast and in Guernsey, Jersey was less familiar territory to him, leading him to decide that, before exhibiting, “I really ought to come and see it first!” 


Pictured: "In capturing the beaches I had to forget everything I thought I knew about painting light on water," Tony said.

While he said his living is to go to "pretty places and paint the views", Tony said he wasn't prepared for Jersey.

"The tidal range in Jersey is a terrifying 40 ft which means a rocky outcrop with clear Turquoise waters at lunch time will be an arid desert stretching as far as the eye can see punctuated by random mountains with actual towers on them, boats left on the sand and the occasional baffled flatfish by teatime," he said. "More than once I got the tides wrong and had the water lapping around the legs of my easel as I abandoned a painting to find higher ground.


Pictured: Tony said his exhibition was the first "song in his love affair with Jersey".

"In capturing the beaches I had to forget everything I thought I knew about painting light on water. Jersey has a light and weather of it's very own and I soon realised that painting it was going to need new techniques and ultimately much bigger canvasses.

"The rocks are sharpened and unreal looking, the sand appears to go on to a distance that bends perspective and the weather seems to have it's own agenda."

He confessed that what started as a "standard painting trip" has turned into a fierce obsession and that he is now determined to find a studio in the island. Speaking of his exhibition he added, "it's the first song in my love affair with Jersey, hopefully the first of many".

Open doors at Morel Farm

Morel Farm.jpeg

Pictured: Morel Farm was given to The National Trust for Jersey in 1939 by Mr A J Morel.

Morel Farm will be opening its doors to the public on Saturday 16 October between 10:00 and 16:00 so that islanders can learn about its renovation of the  Farmhouse and Bakehouse.

Morel Farm was given to The National Trust for Jersey in 1939 by Mr A J Morel with the agricultural land being gifted by his daughter in 2004. The property comprises a dwelling-house, pressoir (cider barn), boulangerie (bake house), pig sties, and several outbuildings. The farm is iconic in its beautiful rural setting with its perfectly proportioned double roadside arch bearing the date 1666 – the same year as the Great Fire of London.  

The restoration project started last month thanks to £2.16m of Fiscal Stimulus funding.

Visitors will be able to view the plans for the repair of the buildings as well as the current applications for the self-catering accommodation.

Historic photographs of Morel Farm will be exhibited, courtesy of the Société Jersiaise.

In addition, examples of previous restoration projects undertaken by the Trust such as Les Côtils Farm, 16 New Street and The Foot Buildings will be on display. Visitors will be encouraged to leave feedback and to sign up for emails for future updates on the project. 

The Cider Festival is back!


Pictured: Jersey Heritage volunteers pressing the apples.

The Cider Festival, La Faîs'sie d’Cidre, is returning to Hamptonne Country Life Museum this weekend (Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 October).

Taking place between 10:00 and 17:00 on both days, the festival will be in a smaller version than islanders are used to but will include dancing, delicious local food and plenty of fun family activities, as well as the all-important apple pressing by Jersey Heritage volunteers.

“La Faîs'sie d’Cidre is everyone’s favourite autumnal event," Nicky Lucas, Jersey Heritage’s Events Curator, said. "Islanders love to celebrate the apple harvest and cider making at Hamptonne and were delighted that we are able to invite them back this year to fully enjoy and take part in the festival at beautiful Hamptonne.”

Parking at Hamptonne will be in a nearby field and will be limited to 100 spaces in three-hour slots, which visitors will need to book in advance on Eventbrite. There will be disabled parking only in the Hamptonne car park.



Missed last week's Art Fix? Catch up by clicking HERE.

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