Here at Earth911, we hear a lot about futuristic new methods of repurposing and recycling common waste materials. But Scranton, Penn.-born artisan Annie Cadden is living proof that going back to our roots can be just as beneficial for reducing waste – and maybe even a little bit more beautiful. As the founder of Fisher Cat Fiber Company, Cadden uses a vintage loom from the 1930s to create woven rugs from recycled plastic bags, old clothes, fabric off-cuts and other materials that would have otherwise gone to waste.
Click through for an up-close look at her unique method for using Depression Era techniques to help keep landfills empty.
A new approach to an old idea
Weaving plastic bags into home decor pieces may sound like a newfangled approach, but Cadden is the first to admit that it wasn’t her idea.
“It’s funny, people always ask me how I came up with this idea to weave plastic,” she tells Earth911. “And I say, ‘It’s not my idea. Many years ago, women did this out of necessity.'”
Cadden recalls her first encounter with a crocheted plastic rug at a farm show 25 years ago, where she discovered it was once common for rural women to weave rugs and other housewares from old bread bags.
“They didn’t have the garbage dumps that we have now,” she explains. “They were farmers, they reused everything and they were very resourceful.”
Enamored by the design and durability of the bread bag rug, Cadden resolved to give the concept a try. After purchasing her first loom several years later, the rest was history.