Free Bags on Petticoat Lane

thousand bags photo

It's art and it's environmental and it's on Petticoat Lane. Since the 17th century this market has been famous for its stalls selling cut-rate clothes and fabrics. Now a group of artists has set up a stall too and are flogging their wares.

The group, public works, is making and giving away free bags to the merchants in the market, using bits and pieces of fabric that they have collected. Two artists have been working at it all week, sewing on their machines out on the street and chatting to the passing trade.

bags for free photo

After the initial bewilderment, the merchants and locals are getting into it. Some are bringing over fabric that they don't need. Others are requesting specific styles and shapes for their bags. The other day the artists were eagerly cutting from a bolt of glorious green Nigerian cloth that had been contributed. Passers-by and young fashionistas were arguing over the final creations.

special fabric photo

The bags are a wonderful, creative mish-mash of materials. Unlikely combo's of cloth, plastic and specially printed hot pink "1000 bags now" fabric are sewn together with great abandon.

whitechapel bags photo

Image from Whitechapel Gallery

It's all part of public works' mission to address the question of how users of public space are engaging with their environment. The group is interested in "how design and programmatic strategies can support and facilitate physical, economical and social infrastructures in the public realm." That translates into fun and innovative ways of making people look at art and public space. Other projects include a mobile porch that can be a stage, a screen, a desk or a dinner table. public works Via : Whitechapel Art Gallery

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