top of page
Form Banner.png

2024’s Throw Me Something Handmade program was scaled back considerably from our original plans because we didn’t get the grant funding we were hoping for. That funding made it possible to prioritize paying sewists and designers a fair wage while still making sure the price of the throws was accessible to individuals and krewes wanting to make a more sustainable choice.

 

Handmade/Repurposed/Upcycled throws will never be as cheap to make, but we at Ricrack truly believe in engaging in the conversation about valuing the labor and skill sewing takes.  The rich history of the various fiber arts is steeped in activism, freedom of expression, and creative resourcefulness. While we, as a society, grapple with the climate crisis and our relationship with fast fashion, remembering what it takes to sew a garment can help with the back of the napkin math that you can do when you see a pair of pants selling for $10 at H&M.

 

We hope by continuing to engage our community to create sustainably, we’ll keep moving the needle towards a greener carnival season. We’re working behind the scenes to build the program into something special for 2025 (March 4th if you were wondering). So don’t give up on this beautiful idea, because we’re sure as heck not. 

 

While we don’t have Throw Me Something Handmade going at the scale we were hoping in 2024, here’s what we do have for you, our dear Ricrack supporters:

Carnival Open Studio

Need to work on your Carnival costumes? Join us for an inclusive open studio! We have the tools and space to complete your crafty creations. The open studio will be led by Lorenza De La Puenta, available to help with any sewing or crafting questions you may have. If you are using the machines, you must know how to operate them.

 

Decorative Yarn Accessories

Join multimedia fiber artist and educator Dale Royster in creating a magical yarn staff and bracelet! Created from a sustainable base and donated yarn, these accessories would look great with any Carnival season costume, or on display in your home. This class is ideal for complete beginners, and no experience is necessary. All supplies are included in the class. Saturday, January 27th 1:30pm - 4:00pm

 

Creative Reuse Shop

We are working hard to make sure we have all of the best stuff for carnival ready for you on our sales floor. We’re going through donations both in the shop and at the warehouse everyday so each time you come in you’re going to find something incredible. 

Right now we have big sequin scrap fabric bags, chainette fringe, wigs, vintage mardi gras rider tunics, fishnets, our beautiful Fringe + Co scrap fabric bin, and so much more. Try Ricrack before you look for something new!

 

Easy creative repurposing:

Our sequin scraps + a pair of dusty Keds + hot glue = the most comfy Carnival season shoes!

We’ll be bringing a bin of Keds in lots of different sizes to the shop this week!

 

And for a good cool down from Mardi Gras:

Pillowcases! (perfect for all of the napping you're going to need)

Ever have some fabric remnants you just don't quite know what to do with? Join Blythe Craft in sewing a pillowcase from start to finish. All materials, including goose down pillow, will be provided. This sustainable creation will use donated fabric from our resale shop. This class is great for beginner sewists who have never sewn before or seasoned stitchers who want to enjoy the bliss of a straightforward make. 

Creative Repurposing.png
2023

Let’s all do our part to be more sustainable during carnival season!

During an anticipated season of excess, is it a total bummer to be thinking about sustainability and the environment? ricRACK doesn’t think so! This year local designers & sewists created functional throws repurposed from textiles utilizing off-cuts from old Mardi Gras float rider tunics and other fabric scraps. ricRACK collaborated with several krewes to design unique throws and highlight the myriad of ways there are to repurpose textiles and scraps while creating your own signature throw or carnival costume. This project is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council.

If you catch any handmade throws, please use #throwmesomethinghandmade when you share them online to help spread the message that a more sustainable carnival season is valued & possible.

 

2023’s Designers & Sewists:

Debra Masika

Frau Fiber

Jahireen Hebert

Jane Tardo

Lizz Freeman

Baylee Robertson

Cypress Rollins

Jazzmyne Cry 

Sadie Sheldon

Gabriela Antonas

Blythe Craft

 

2023’s Krewe Partners/Parades:

Chewbacchus subkrewe Brainiacs

Krewe Boheme subkrewe Krewe of King James (founded by DJ Soul Sister)

Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale - Ashé CAC Float

Krewe of King Arthur

Krewe of Muses

Krewe of Green Beans

Textile Donations:

fringe + co.

 

Made possible with support from:

ArtsNewOrleans_LogoAssets-02 cropped.png
arts_logo_large - Edited - Edited.png
17WWNONEW - Edited.png

What if we prioritized reusability over cheap plastic beads? Utilization over mass consumption? Handmade over mass produced?

ricRACK plays a major part in growing the next generation’s artistry, independence, and environmental consciousness – stitch by stitch. Before ricRACK, no organization in New Orleans was focused on waste reduction and skill building with textiles and we’re excited to extend that mission into helping create a more sustainable Mardi Gras.

 

“This is ricRACK’s second year creating handmade throws for Mardi Gras, and it’s incredibly empowering to see so many more folks willing to engage in the conversation this year. It was an honor to partner with cultural institutions like Ashè and icons like DJ Soul Sister to get the word out about the value of a handmade throw. Speaking with the art and environmental science students at Sacred Heart during their Cardnival workshop made it clear that the younger generation is actively ushering  in change.  It is my hope we are collectively participating in a vital shift toward less waste and trash during Carnival season.”

- Executive Director, Lizz Freeman

In 2017 crews working under a $7 million emergency contract pulled 93,000 pounds of Mardi Gras beads - more than 46 tons - from clogged catch basins on St. Charles between Poydras Street and Harmony Circle.

 

Plastic beads haven’t always been a part of Mardi Gras. Some may not be aware that the entire lifecycle of a strand of Mardi Gras beads is bad for the earth. The beads are born in an oil field before being transformed into plastic. From there they are shipped to a factory in China and created through exploited labor practices. Purchased for pennies, the beads are then shipped to New Orleans where 25 million pounds of them will be  tossed from a float. The majority of them end up in a clogged storm drain or are eventually discarded into landfills, releasing toxins all along the way.

In 2022, with support from the community, ricRACK diverted more than 30,000 pounds of textiles from the landfills. This Carnival season, the organization is encouraging New Orleanians to continue to shift the focus from cheap plastics to reusability and functionality. Handmade/Repurposed/Upcycled throws will never be as cheap to make, but valuing the labor it takes to sew and create is another one of the organization’s goals. Each year, more and more creative thinkers and artists are coming together to problem solve ways to make an impact on waste reduction during Mardi Gras and ricRACK hopes to encourage everyone to take the pledge to participate in a more sustainable Mardi Gras in 2023 and beyond.

Other Inspiring New Orleans organizations and business doing their part:

Grounds Krewe

Epiphany Throws

ARC New Orleans 

The Green Project

Sacred Heart

NolaReady

Let’s Work Together

Get in touch.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
Thanks for submitting!
bottom of page