Generally speaking, items like blankets, towels, quilts, and bedding of any kind aren’t exactly the kind of things you’d find selling like hotcakes at thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, and the like. With the exception of things like heirloom quilts passed down from generation to generation, home textiles don’t have exactly have the most active second life. There’s something just too intimate about these well-loved objects to make them desirable secondhand possessions.

Enter Nana Spears, a fashion industry vet and former assistant buyer at Barneys, and painter Naomi Clark. These two craft Brooklyn-based ladies who have banded together to save unloved blankies and give them a decidedly whimsical second lease on life. Working together under the name Fort Makers, Spears and Clark troll eBay, flea markets, and garage sales for old wool camping blankets. Clark then re-cuts, re-dyes, and re-quilts the tattered old thrift store finds, transforming them into “quilt paintings".

What started out as an art school thesis project has now turned into a business as Spears and Clark begin to sell to their upcycled textile art. The Fort Makers concept revolves around a wide-eyed sense of whimsy and adventure usually reserved for people under the age of ten (and certain Brooklyn residents). You know ... quirky art projects with new best friends, outdoor camping adventures, fort making … that kind of stuff. While the whole Fort Makers deal is a touch twee for my tastes (check out the Fort Makers manifesto, aka “Letter to Grandma”), I gotta give the girls credit for artistically repurposing items that usually collect dust on thrift stores shelves or end up in landfills.

Check out more of these unusual upcycled blankets on the Fort Makers online catalog (a retailer list appears to be coming soon). The uses for the blankets are pretty endless … camping and trips to the beach (as Naomi and Nana suggest); adding a splash of color to a kids room; giving as a unique housewarming gift; funk-ing up the otherwise blah backseat of your car.

Via [Apartment Therapy]

Photos: Fort Makers

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Putting the quirk into quilt
Two Brooklynites collaborating under the name of Fort Makers make "quilt pantings" using recycled blankets found on eBay and at flea markets and garage sales.