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Trash to Treasure, the Saturday Market Holiday Market makes old new again

Dress fashioned out of T-shirt material by Kendra Brock
Dress fashioned out of T-shirt material by Kendra Brock

Artisans at the Saturday Market’s Holiday Market use anything from spider webs to pressed flowers when crafting their creations. Some are known especially for reusing materials to make something new. Recycling, upcycling, reusing — people have different names for it, but whatever you call it, the resulting products bear little resemblance to the “old” materials from which they came. 

Brian McGinnis makes bags from sails, and his business name hints at the bags’ reused nature: Lagan Bags. The word “lagan” is a nautical term for goods or wreckage on the bottom of the sea, with a buoy attached for later retrieval. The sails McGinnis uses for his bags, like lagan, were retrieved after being tossed out. Typically, old sails just sit around until they get trashed, but McGinnis says he decided to change that. 

“I spent two-and-a-half years in Mexico cruising around and saw lots of old sails getting thrown out,” he says. He experimented with turning some of those sails into bags, and the result is Lagan Bags.

At his workshop on Fern Ridge Reservoir, McGinnis sews everything from tote bags to duffle bags, turning the sail material into durable, attractive items. Most of the sails he uses come from his friends who race sailboats. “Racers are particularly hard on their sails,” McGinnis says. He arranges for the old sails to be sent to him, which means he has a nearly endless supply for his sewing machine. Bags range from $35-$145.

Kendra Brock of Kendra Grace Designs makes dresses and other kinds of clothes, but with a twist: Everything she sews is made from T-shirts. She browses racks at thrift stores until she finds what she is looking for. “The T-shirt really has to speak to me,” Brock says. Plus, the shirt has to be stain-free and have no plastic decals that might crack or peel over time. Once she finds the perfect tee, she sews it into a colorful, one-of-a-kind piece of clothing, incorporating other T-shirts and organic cotton. 

“I like to use all parts of the shirts,” Brock says, such as using the hem of a shirt for a dress strap. “I’m making a piece of art,” Brock says about her sewing, and she works with the fabric in order “to sculpt the dress into what it becomes.” Brock’s dresses start at about $175.

Tyler Dones of Twylyte Hour Products calls himself a “junk artist,” and he relies on an unusual material to sew his creations: used inner tubes. However, he doesn’t want to create art that is put up on the wall and never used. 

“I was able to find a way to bring artistry to a practical level,” Dones says. He began by making a handbag and hasn’t stopped since, branching out into everything from belts to wallets to coats. Most of Dones’ products cost under $150. “I use any kind of inner tube I can get,” Dones says. “They’re just going to go to a landfill, so people are happy to give them to me.” 

In order to turn inner tubes into useful products, Dones says he uses “sewing machines, leather tools and creativity.” One of Dones’ favorite aspects of his work is meeting all the different customers and sharing his art with them. 

“Customers are extremely hard to predict,” Dones says. “Every Holiday Market, it’s a new thing people fall in love with.” 

McGinnis, Brock, Dones and other creative folks will be at the Holiday Market every weekend at the Lane County Fairgrounds, 10 am to 6 pm, with extended days from Dec. 20-24, closing at 4 pm on Christmas Eve.

A handcrafted bag made out of old sails and created by artisan Brian Mcginnis