18 April 2011

A Portrait of The Artist: Tscarf

Today, in A Portrait of The Artist meet Corry van Tricht who lives in the Netherlands and is the creative mind behind Tscarf, where you can find upcycled fashionable scarves, jewelry and other unexpected goodies. If you are wondering how she got the upcycling bug, read on, I promise you a very entertaining time with her interview and be sure to read all the way to the end because there you will get a precious upcycling tip from her.

Corry started actively upcycling a year ago and as she says: I've become an addict... My friends and colleagues have begun to understand that they are not allowed to throw anything away, that there might always be a possibility I will want it for one of my projects. Sometimes people start collecting things for me of which I hadn't even thought beforehand, but which turn out to be great objects to work with.

My friend Judith gave me a couple of old men's ties, the other day, and at first I wasn't very much interested, but when I took a closer look at them and saw the beautiful colors and patterns, I decided I could easily combine them with the felt from the old woolen sweaters, and voilĂ , another object was born: an identity/public transport holder...

How did you set your mind to give second life to T-shirts and other textiles?
To tell you the truth, it was my sister who found this idea. She started upcycling way before I did, and sells bags (www.upcycled.nl). She showed me how to do it. My first two T-scarf projects were an utter disaster, didn't work the way I wanted them, but still, I was hooked. A couple of months ago I saw these big duvet covers that our kids found far too childish to put on their beds, and started browsing the internet for ideas. I soon stumbled upon rag knitting, and a very cute bag was born. One thing leads to another, in my experience...

Tscarf, big, soft and comfy

Finding new use for old stuff requires creativity. How does it transfer to your daily life? Has it boosted your imagination in a way?
As I said, I've really become addicted to making things, and I have become more and more aware of all the stuff we throw out, day in, day out. Even more than before, I try to avoid packaging, accepting plastic bags, etcetera.

I've recently been asked to organise a recycle workshop for young kids, so now I'm looking at the world with this idea in mind, trying to make young people aware of both trash and art. I'm bursting with ideas, my only problem is that there are just 24 hours in a day, and that sometimes trivial things like going to work, cooking and cleaning have to be done as well. ;-))

What is your first memory of recycling, did your parents require you to recycle or to save energy?
My parents were from a very frugal generation, the waste not want not kind; so, while we had enough, we never bought or got things that were not necessary. Of course, we were taught to close doors to keep the warmth in (we didn't have central heating in the house I grew up in) and turn off the lights, whenever possible, but I can't remember actively recycling or upcycling stuff. My sister and I recently concluded that in a former life we must have lived on a landfill, or something like that, though, both of us being so infected by the upcycling virus...

Upcycled Tscarf Elly

Talking about parents and requirements, tell us more about yourself, what did you wish to become when you were a kid?
Ha, as a young kid, from the age of four, I knew for sure I wanted to become a teacher, and everybody always told me I was a born teacher. Don't know if that was just a kind way of telling me I was annoyingly bossy...

Anyway, I went to university, studied English, and became a teacher! I did that for about 15 years, and then found it time for a change. I now am the proud co-owner of a bagel store, but have started to give workshops again.....

What do you want people to remember, after closing the web page with your etsy shop?
What I would like people to remember is that the best way to deal with trash is not to produce it, but when it can't be avoided, to turn it into something beautiful and/or practical. You can do that yourself, or visit one of the great etsy shops in which upcycled objects are sold.

Eco upcycled black knit ottoman

We noticed that you have just opened a second Etsy shop, what are your creative plans?
Now and again I feel the urge to simply make something beautiful, using existing material. I just go to the store, buy yarn, and create something. Upcycling takes a lot more time and energy, and sometimes I just feel like producing something like a scarf or earrings, just because I find the outcome beautiful. I decided it would be best to separate that from my upcycled shop, to show the difference. I guess I'll keep on doing both, although my heart lies with the upcycled stuff.

Now, tell us about upcycling cakes, this sounds even crazier than making scarves out of Tshirts!
I love browsing the internet and find it great to look up tutorials on youtube etc. I happened to hear about cake pops, so I decided to give that a go. You take a home baked cake (shop bought cakes don't work, they're too greasy or something), crumble it, mix it with enough icing to make it stick together, roll balls, stick them on a stick and dip them into chocolate. You can see the process and the result on my blog. After I had made these I suddenly realised that this is upcycling too, at least the first cake was, because it was an officially ruined cake (it was broken), and then turned into something even more beautiful. And just like upcycling, it does take an effort and some time...

What is your current favorite item from another etsy seller?
My current favorite item is this keychain by LowlandOriginals. She made three varieties, and I just bought one! Very original!

Get in touch with Corry and follow her creative development:
She has two beautiful websites, in Dutch: www.tscarf.nl and www.workshopsalkmaar.nl
Blog, in English: http://tscarf.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/T-scarfs/116164445088098

You can check out other editions of A Portrait of The Artist here.  


  1. Thank you so much for your visit! You have a wonderful blog and I've enjoyed peeking around :) I love the black knit ottoman!

  2. That ottoman is amazing!