FEATURED ARTIST: Needle Happy (Juli Shimodaira)

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 Name: Needle Happy (Juli Shimodaira)

City/State: San Francisco, California

Etsy Store: www.etsy.com/shop/NeedleHappy

How did you get your start in recycled art? Where did you get your inspiration?

The idea started when I was moving and came across the purple cardigan that my grandmother gave me when I was little. It seemed like such a waste to have such a memorable cardigan stored away in my dresser. Is there a way to transform the cardigan into something that I can use daily? This was the moment my idea because a reality: transforming used clothing and giving it a breath of new life. What is one article of clothing that everyone owns regardless of gender and age? T-SHIRTS! What is one type of clothing that everyone makes use of everyday? UNDERWEAR! Cotton t-shirts are comfortable and soft on the skin, so to transform tees into underwear made perfect sense. This was when we created PANTEES. Pantees are not only unique and trendy, but most importantly they are environmentally and economically efficient.

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What is your process to create recycled art? Does an idea or concept just come to you?

Friends and family have definitely been the key source to the style and fitting of our products. We collected information on what they liked and disliked about the undergarments that they were wearing. After research and countless amounts of test products, we came up with our current style. I personally come up with the color/pattern combinations of our products, so each and every one of our pieces are truly one-of-a-kind. We are continuously researching to create better products and one of our largest projects right now consists of coming up with a Unisex Pantee. Sounds really unique and fun, doesn’t it?

Any advice to those who are considering creating art from recycled material?

Have fun and enjoy each and every moment of creating your products and take huge pride in the fact that you are recycling and doing good for our environment!

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