Brutal Scavengers

“Places draw us to them for reasons beyond the feelings derived from the five senses…some deeper recognition is at work, felt through an unextinguishable animal sensibility.”
Peter & Alison Smithson


RUDE is drawn to landfill and recycling facilities because there is definitely sensibility in rescuing the unloved object that can be reinvented.

Above image:  Scavenger Style has brutal beginings but beautiful outcomes.  A simple refashion of $1 dress that was rescued from landfill.  The hemline was shortened and the seams taken in at the sides.  The armhole facings were altered to fit.  This outfit is styled with 3/4 length top and belt from landfill for $1, and Selby brand vintage shoes from a charity store for $2.

Brutalism is an architectural style and according to this article here we are seeing a huge resurgence of interest in it, mainly from a younger generation who can admire the radicalism.

Much like Otto von Busch’s hacktivisim, RUDE can see the connection between it’s refashioning of garments from landfill and brutalism.  As with old garments considered passe, buildings in the Brutalist style are not just relics of the past, but can be catalysts for brilliant creative adaptations.

And by all accounts the resurgence of this style is evident across the arts.  If that’s so, then Brutalism can find a place in the creative remaking of garments and textiles.  It’s sort of what RUDE is about, with its Scavenger Style – brutal beginnings with beautiful and transparent outcomes.

Architects chose the Brutalist style even when they had large budgets, as they appreciated the ‘honesty’, the sculptural qualities, and perhaps, the uncompromising, anti-bourgeois, nature of the style.

As with this description and despite RUDE’s good financial position, landfill sites not unlike graveyards are [honest/transparent] not status symbols, RUDE has been committed to textile rescue for over six (6) years [anti-bourgeois] and whatever is recreated it is the nature of our Scavenger Style.

Be Brutal and Beat The Man!

RUDE’s Muck Up

If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.

I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes ~ John Wooden

Dear Followers

Our apologies if you received our scheduled Friday 7th November post today and then it vanished into cyberspace.  I [Karen] was too quick on the trigger and published it immediately.  Titled Oddball Oeuvres, it was deleted as soon as I realised what I had done.  Some of you may have already read it, and that’s okay.  This post will REappear again in a fortnight’s time and is REtitled ‘Something Subversive’.

RUDE’s Danny and I want to turn this mistake into an opportunity and thank our hundreds of followers, yes, that’s YOU, for subscribing to our blog.  We are extremely humbled that you want to read about our modern day scavenger lifestyle.  We really enjoy sharing with you all, a way of life, that is not mainstream, but incredibly rewarding.

DSC00060RUDE Girl

Tip Top

DSC04517A big bag of clothes REscued from the point of landfill, including two tailor made pure wool men’s jackets

“Time does nothing but hand you down shabbier and older things.”
Aleksandar Hemon, Love and Obstacles

As time marches on, RUDE prefers those things that are not new and shiny.  Sourcing garments from the point of landfill takes time, and it does result in us finding shabbier and older things.  But shabby can become the new chic, and the old the new, with a sprinkle of creativity and determination to Beat the Man.

I [Karen] was given a long line ladies top by a friend who frequents her local Tip [dump] Shop at the point of landfill.  She REscued the top but it was not the right size.  I could see why she had REscued it, as it was lovely, but when I tried it on it looked ghastly.  It had these knitted loops around the armholes that made me look like a gladiator.

I hacked off the top and sleeves, added a waist band and made this top into a skirt.  A quick REfashion resulting in a new skirt a la moi scavenger style.

Cushion Crush

Phantom Cushion
RUDE’s Purple Phantom cushion upcycled from a man’s shirt REscued from the garment graveyard.

“I do needlepoint from kits. I give them as gifts to people in the form of cushion covers and they are often speechless with horror.”  
Lynne TrussOh dear, we who handcraft and give our goodies as gifts know what Lynne Truss means in her quote above.  The looks on loved ones’ faces of horror, dismay, disbelief, confusion, shame, guilt etc is interesting.  RUDE just fobs it off as their issue to deal with, but really do, sincerely hope, we score a winner and someone likes, even loves what we make or REgift.

I [Karen] have made this little tapestry cushion below, as a Christmas gift this year for a grandson.  His father owns and rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  The tapestry was picked up at the point of landfill still on it’s frame for $1.  All I did was wash it and made it into a cushion by backing it with a secondhand Billabong brand shirt of Dannys and voila!

I will know exactly how Lynne Truss feels when our grandson looks at his handmade little cushion for his bed, and chucks it aside for the brand new store bought gifts [that will also be chucked aside not long after Boxing Day]  At least the cushion won’t break into bits and pieces when it’s thrown on the floor.

Cushion Harley frontCushion Harley Back
Cushion for NevaehAnd this little bird in cage cushion above, was scored for 50 cents at a charity store, and will also be REgifted at Christmas.

Beat The Man and risk making your own gifts, to keep the pennies in your pocket, and to save the planet from more rubbish.

Urban Scavengers

Scavenger StyleThe woman in this photo is not me [Karen] but I have been know to be bottoms up in a bin a la Scavenger Style


“It’s the idea that it’s the last moment of something.  I like to compare it to a family member who is terminally ill and you don’t know if this person’s going to pass away in three months then those three months becomes really, really significant and your intensity of your relationship with that person increases.  I’m not going to say it’s to the same extent as a person, of course, but there is some sort of intensity in going to a place and knowing it will disappear.”  Bradley Garrett ~ Academic & Urban Explorer

RUDE are urban scavengers not unlike the rag and bone man of old.  We REscue things from landfill because we see the last moment of these really good things that can be saved and immediately reused.  And if we do not REscue things of value they will disappear.   We compare this in a way to Bradley Garrett’s comment above on Place Hacking.

The main priority for Danny and me aka RUDE is to share an unusual lifestyle with anyone who is interested.   What we do is different to others, yes there are similarities but there are major differences. We do not expect people to embrace our lifestyle, we are not out there to get people to follow us step by step.

Our aim is to engage people in our journey, so that they are curious and ask, who are these people? Why do they do this? What kind of people in a prosperous country like Australia buy from sheds at the point of landfill? What kind of people wear and refashion garments destined for the garment graveyard? Why do this for over 5 years? And why for goodness sake, make it a political fashion statement and call it scavenger style?

Why?  We do this to Beat The Man at a number of his games. 

RUDE is not about encouraging scavenging by the masses at landfill, but hopes via sharing it may just encourage some people to seek out adventure and alternative ways of thinking.


Seams Unlikely

“It seems unlikely but there is wealth in waste and riches in rubbish.” 

Karen Ellis ~ Blogger

Seams unlikely

I had no idea Seams Unlikely was a book about a sewist! 

As I inserted the above graphic into this blog post I noticed the woman had a yellow, what looks like a tape measure around her neck.  I had heard mention of Nancy Zieman before and had watched her on Youtube.  I just had to put two and two together to realize it was ‘that’ Nancy from TV sewing fame.

I wonder if Nancy has ever upcycled seams into a placemat.  Seams unlikely?  Well perhaps for Nancy but not for RUDE Girl.  I  craft and sew with fulled woollen garments rescued from the point of landfill, that have been hacked up to make fabric.  From these hacked garments, I reuse the seams to make into trivets or placemats.


Seam Trivet 2

This round trivet is made from seams that have been coiled and handstitched together.

Selvage Placemat

This skewed rectangle shaped placemat is made from seams that have been zig zag stitched together by sewing machine

It may seem unlikely but you can upcycle practically anything!  Beat The Man and be your own creative genius.