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Making It

Believe It: Fabric Made From Sheets Of Dryer Lint

"The project is about throwing away potential. That is what happens each time we clean the dryer’s filter."

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It’s fair to say that most of us don’t have much affection for lint, the dusty, gray mass that’s left behind after drying our clothes. In the hands of Shelly Simcha, it’s self-generating material that can be reworked into other garments without damaging the clothes it came from. For her Lint project, the Bezalel grad collected the dryer refuse from various "donors" and stitched it into a large blanket.

"The project is about throwing away potential," Simcha tells Co.Design. "That is what happens each time we clean the dryer’s filter. Each shirt has the potential of creating another shirt without canceling out its own existence." The lint also serves as an expression of each donor’s lifestyle, with the composition of each sheet, including pet hair and tissue flakes, reflecting aspects of their daily existence. Says the designer: "Each patch has its own DNA."

The process is simple: After gathering the lint, Simcha shaped it into sheets, which she covered with a textile-hardening spray and ironed at a high temperature with wax paper. She then sewed the pieces into a patchwork quilt.

Simcha has expanded the project to make articles of clothing out of lint. Another phase, she says, is manipulating the lint filter to create patterns by covering it with paper tape of different shapes. Although these pieces are unlikely to take another turn in the dryer, Simcha says that they’re surprisingly sturdy: "I never checked if the blanket can be washed, but it’s not crumbled and kind of stable."

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