Scraphappy – Brown Paper scraps

Mouldy

In our town, people sometimes leave useful stuff at the side of the road…a sort of an informal recycling/disposal system. If things don’t disappear within a day or two, the municipality takes it away to the scrap heap! Last spring I found a chair at the side of the road…with stained wood, and a rushed seat…

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damage

…the rushes were worn away at the centre front, and very mouldy.

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Real rushes

Under the seat you can see from all the sticking-out ends at the intersections, that actual rushes were used, made from twisted cattails or bullrushes.

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ends

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cut

 

But I wanted to rescue the chair from the scrap heap!!! So all the grimy stuff had to be cut off, and the old cardboard filler taken out (no interesting logos on the cardboard, alas).

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Sanding

Then I sanded down to bare wood, to remove the old finish and luckily the stains were much reduced. I gave the wood a coat of Danish Oil…

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bottomless

…and then it turned to be a rather pretty and sturdy chair under all the stains and mould! To re-do the seat I bought some “fiber rushing” which is made of recycled brown kraft paper, and is the usual material used these days…does this count as scrap paper?  It comes in either a zillion-foot spool, or small coils of 100 feet, which are said to be “enough for a single seat”. I bought a coil…

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nail

…and dipped shortish lengths it into my bucket of warm water just enough to wet the rushing so it was a bit more flexible, but not enough to tear the paper! Using the original nail to anchor the end of the first skein, I started to weave.

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Helpful

Constance was with me when I found the chair, and always keeps me company when I weave, so she was glad to help and advise with this project…

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Continuing along

…she declared that it looked like fun and that the results are certainly promising!

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original

We replaced the cardboard with old pizza boxes for padding (logo side down), and put a few bits of the (clean!) original rushing inside for the amusement of anyone taking the rushing off in the future, should it need restoring (again)…

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Arg

…and kept weaving until I ran out of rushing about 12 feet before the chair was complete. Then I sulked for about six months, because I didn’t want to buy an entire new hundred-foot coil.

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grr

The same thing happened when I re-did the seat of Constance’s chair, using the string it came with, on a much smaller scale of course, but still annoying.

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finally

I finally came to my senses and got some more rushing earlier this summer, so I could finish my chair…(note the scrap of fiber-rushing lying behind the chair).

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Done!

Finished at last…

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Pattern

…it looks pretty good from the top…

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knots

…and not bad from underneath…

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Three little chairs

…and Constance says that now that I have practiced the technique, she hopes that some day I will collect some bulrushes to fix her red chair properly (the other two little chairs have real rush seats)!

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scraps!

The leftover bit of brown paper “Fiber-Rushing”, cut off the chair when I finished weaving the seat, is the actual scrap of the day. Young Human decided to try a coiled basketry technique with it…

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Mat

…with great success…

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Cat

…according to the Hitty cat.

We also have a giant coil of rushing left over…any suggestions? Maybe a chair for Siyah?

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ScrapHappy is a group of bloggers using up scraps of anything – no new materials…Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible, and posts come out once a month on the 15th! If you like the idea and want to join the group, contact Kate or Gun who devised and run this group.  Their blogs are the first two links below:

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23 thoughts on “Scraphappy – Brown Paper scraps

    • I re-caned a chair about 40 years ago…also an interesting technique…that chair was also rescued from the tip, by my grandmother. She had had it upholstered but I was keen to cane it…I inherited it from my parents, so now I have two lovely old chairs…does two, 40 years apart make a trend?

  1. Placemats? Wide, shallow baskets? Big flat floor cushions? Photo frames? It’s a lovely repair/recycle/reuse, and I do believe that recycled brown paper counts as scraphappy!

    • We may try something with more (scrap) yarn binding! Meanwhile I don’t regret buy 88 extra feet of fibre rushing…it just makes me curious about what the rest of it might become!

  2. Ah, your work and desires to re-purpose, re-use make my heart sing. This narrative sturdies the seat under me and propels me off to creative land. Once again, your inspiring posts have brought great joy to this reader.

    • Thank you very much, we were inspired by the pretty, sturdy and hand-crafted chair underneath the mould and stains. I was sure it would be a nice chair underneath it all ! I am glad you came along for the story from the nearly end, to the new beginning

  3. This chair has a beautiful new life thanks to you. It looks beautiful. It’s always a treat to see Constance and youngest human weaved into your stories.

    • We do like the stories woven into things and it was fun to rescue this old chair to bring it back from the brink…Constance is always ready to help, and young human game to make stuff!

    • Thanks so much! We saw the forlorn chair at the side of the road, and felt it, and thought it seemed sturdy enough to fix up without taking it completely apart! Luckily it proved to be the case. Constance was very encouraging, having seen me reweave her little red chair successfully!

  4. so happy you “came to your senses”, the chair is now an heirloom with a story to tell. Love the picture of the young human and her creative talents. I need a Constance to encourage me to weave, I’ve lost the my enthusiasm.

    • Young human is game to try almost anything I have suggested so far…she does have a creative streak, and talents nurtured by her parents, a very lively, lucky person! I am glad I rescued the chair and also glad I overcame my reluctance to get another whole coil of rushing…it is the same stuff as is used for paper bag handles! It’s a strange, grey time I think. Enthusiasm is kind of in retreat in lots of places…Constance would be happy to visit!

    • Thank you Nia! There are so many disappearing skills – the old way was beautiful, I loved bringing this chair back to life with the original technique even with the new material.

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