Friday, 15 October 2010

Sewing for Conservation

A few weeks ago I made several sizes of pollination bags for the nursery at work. At a meeting to discuss production of seeds from  rare plants in the collections for storage in the Millennium Seed Bank, staff were complaining about the difficulties with the pollination bags they currently use (to exclude pollen from other plants).In the tropical glasshouses, cockroaches eat through the paper!! Thinking of the polyester organza I'd used in the paper lamination class at Art Van Go, I offered to make some prototypes to try out.
I contacted Sarah Welsby to find where she got her polyester from and ordered a couple of metres from Bramble Patch. This alternative use obviously amused her as when Gunilla was on her course at FoQ, she mentioned it. I made them with French seams and a channel around the top with some robust string.
They were greeted with enthusiasm when I handed them over ( despite their similarity to wedding favour bags- now there's a thought!).  I had an email this week to say that Michele was currently trying a few out on the bromeliads so I  went to take some photos today. In one location she's done a direct comparison with their current paper bags ( above, polyester on right) They're looking good so far. If these prototypes work (they're also being tested out in the arboretum and at Wakehurst) then I'll have to source a lot more fabric (and calculate the cost of my time too ). Claire (at Committed To Cloth ) has also been helpful with wholesale sources although I'm not sure we'll need a whole roll.

After an example of  my hobby helping work, here's an example of the opposite!
There's been various discussions floating around about the use of  'Pinmoors' when basting quilts. They seemed a great idea but rather expensive. I was considering ordering some foam earplugs to try but then I saw  how the vicious spikes on this Agave had been dealt with.  I'm sure down in the cellar I've saved some foam chips ....


sandra wyman said...

You've probably thought of this, but how about Whaley's?

Helen Suzanne said...

what a good idea Mags. I can see they'd be better in the organza as there wouldn't be condensation either, and still lots of fresh air and sunlight.

thank you for your comments and congrats on my new blog :)

Susan Briscoe said...

Would the kind of nylon used for silkscreens be any use for this? I've a whole roll in the storage unit. Let me know if you think it could work as well as the poly and I'll find a way to get some to you.