Costume design is a complex and time-consuming process. The work requires not only practical cutting and sewing skills but also imagination and ingenuity, and a sheer range of skills. In addition to tailoring there is dyeing, printing, beading, and exploring the ways in which the materials can be animated and manipulated.

The starting-point in constructing any upcycling piece is to forage for the materials. These in our case come from various forms of waste – from plastic bottles to pre-loved textiles and jewellery pieces. During the summer we were busy collecting all kinds of tinted plastic bottles to give them a new life – reimagined as the cape collar designs that are almost finalised for both costumes.


When constructing an art-wearable piece of garment from pre-loved and discarded materials, the process itself flows and grows organically. There are limits and at the same time all the freedom of realisation from the starting vision. The limits are the availability of already used materials, and there is the freedom of what to do with them. From re-using unwanted stuff and in constructing it – giving it another life – there is a kind of poetry in the process of designing. It can be like building a puzzle when combining various forms of waste together and when, little by little, they turn into something deeper with meaning.


Both costumes are inspired by the organic shapes found in nature and by exploring – by finding ways in which the flat surface of materials like pre-loved garments can be transformed: translated from a two-dimensional flat surface into a three-dimensional object. Upcycling costume designer Selena S Kuzman is busy animating materials with the process of techniques in dying, shibori and sashiko, to name a few. And Caroline Bury with her headpieces is moving from the design on paper to its realisation with needle felting, wire and stitching.

We have finalised the date for the exhibition display at Moray Reach Out in Buckie and it will be in mid-February for just after Valentine’s Day. This will be an appropriate time, when the costumes of the Sea and the Land will come together to represent the marriage of two elements – water and earth.

From Cycle Tubes to Statement Necklace

We round off the series of workshops by looking at how to turn cycle tubes into a simple statement necklace.

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Moving on to plastic

After a successful start transforming T-shirts, our online classes moved on to plastic, to turn them into jewellery pieces.

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The Land and the Sea: costumes in a transformation process

With a physical exhibition now delayed by lockdown to December, we are bringing you a preview online.

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T-shirts Transformed

It was quite a change of plans for the project as we had got up to full speed on practical workshops, with excellent feedback from the various sessions and further venues and groups all ready to go.

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Online upcycling classes – welcome!

A brief welcome to set the scene for online classes on the way.

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Moray Reach Out workshops with trainees

We had two sessions with trainees, to introduce some of the techniques in making use of pre-loved items and everyday materials.

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Open Day with drop-in workshops at Moray Reach Out

We prepared a range of activities, with a number of displays as well for inspiration, from upcycled jewellery pieces to items created from yarn from pre-loved T-shirts. We also had one of the specially created costumes with us, with its bright spring green colour.

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window display at moray reach out

Upcycled costumes on display

Our costumes made from waste materials are now ready for display. They will appear tomorrow (Monday 17th) late morning in one of the large windows of Moray Reach Out in Church Street, Buckie.

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Buckie Christmas Kracker

The annual Christmas Kracker is an event to look forward to, and we were delighted to be there for a creative collaboration with Moray Reach Out at their Yarns and Crafts Centre. There was a keen interest from young people, and sometimes very young, along with their parents, to see what could be done with upcycling t-shirts.

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Doodling in 3D with Moray Wellbeing Hub

We tried out 3D-printing pens, using filament recycled from used plastic (from old food packaging and old bottles), to draw the hot thin plastic by hand into simple shapes from nature - feathers, butterflies and dragonflies.

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Workshops in the Phoenix Centre, Buckie

We rounded off this series of workshops in the Phoenix Centre with fabric flowers sewn together with the help of scrap fabric, leftover ribbons, old beads and buttons and re-used laces, matching favourite colours for a special day out.

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