Rachel Ellenbogen

Student / Fashion Category

"I made the plastic bottles into beads by cutting them into leaf shapes, coloring them with an alcohol marker and then burning them to set the color and melt the edges."

— Rachel Ellenbogen
Mentor – Anne-Marie Howat

For my piece I wanted to focus on what I could make with recycled materials. I used recycled polyester chiffon as both a base for the beading and for the pleated details. For the beads I used plastic bottles and beads from second hand jewelry. I made the plastic bottles into beads by cutting them into leaf shapes, coloring them with an alcohol marker and then burning them to set the color and melt the edges. I used tambour beading for the majority of it, and a needle and thread for the bottles.

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is how I react with the world around me. Particularly, what space I take up and what resources I use and throw away. I decided to take a more personal approach to nature and use the colors that I found around me in my everyday life. My goal was to create a painting with the beads and plastic bottles to hopefully inspire others to think about what we use and throw away and the resources, we as humans, use in the world.

I want to use the beauty in embroidery to bring about change and inspire people. I’m hoping that the detail in my work can pull people in and it can help them think critically about how what we use can affect the planet we live on.

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Rachel Ellenbogen - image from the official 2020 Prize shoot
Rachel Ellenbogen - supporting image
Rachel Ellenbogen - supporting image
Rachel Ellenbogen - image from the official 2020 Prize shoot