If reality television has taught us anything, it’s that hoarding generally isn’t considered a glamorous pursuit. But, once in a while, those bits and pieces that pile up might be actual treasures. Case in point: local designer Mona Sultan’s elegant silk fabric leftovers.
Sultan first launched her hand-designed line of 100 per cent silk twill scarves in 2012, with an aim to reimagine the traditional accessory in vibrant colours and patterns. Along the way she saved the various off-cuts and samples, not for austerity measures, but from a belief in the importance of recycling and repurposing. Enter pillow designer Erika Pantages of Pillow Fight Factory, who had long loved Sultan’s work. “I wondered whether Mona had any samples sitting up in her attic that she wasn’t using, so I called her up,” she says. “Both of us are East Side girls and we feel strongly about our industry’s impact on the environment, and the idea of upcycling.” A plan for the remnants materialized: Pantages would provide the pillow, Sultan the silk stockpile.
It would be a year of magical thinking. The two creatives put their heads together over coffee and spent hours, then weeks, and months brainstorming patterns and possibilities. “After many kitchen table sessions, we finally had a pillow series by repurposing these beautiful silk scarf scraps and off-cuts in a patchwork of paisley, bandana, stripes, and stars,” Pantages says.
The Mona Sultan x Pillow Fight series features silk scarf appliques in a trio of colour ways and patterns: “Where There’s Smoke” in black, white and grey; “Fire Sky” in pink and red; “Water Runs Through It” in classic blue and white. Each cushion is handmade in Vancouver with partial proceeds going to local charities that support issues the designers hold dear (Project Limelight, Syrian refugees).
The different styles are limited to a certain number of runs, depending on how much fabric is available. But when this limited-edition collection sells out, there’s still reason to continue your hoarding. Pantages has frequently reimagined her clients’ family heirlooms into cushions, even recast articles of clothing from loved ones. Once a customer brought in a pair of leather boots that her husband had given her when they first met. “I looked at her like she was crazy,” laughs Pantages. But soon those precious boots morphed into a leather collage for a patchwork-pillow keepsake. “We all have a lot of stuff,” she laughs. “I handle a lot of other people’s crochet and doilies.”
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