Upcycling as art

Anna Marie D’Addarie’s series “Hatched” turns discarded items into handmade crafts.

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Chicken Alley Thrift Shop in Vineyard Haven is a popular place to donate used goods: clothes, toys, kitchenware, and more. But not all goods are donated in equal condition, and a great portion are filthy, ripped, and unusable — or simply unpopular, and unmoving. 

These pieces often end up in the hands of Anna Marie D’Addarie, local sewer, handcrafter, and artist. 

Walking into her upstairs workshop at her home in Oak Bluffs, tubs of multi-colored ties and a wall of yarn and salvaged fabrics can be seen. This is where D’Addarie creates her art series “Hatched,” a collection of handmade, upcycled crafts. 

D’Addarie was an employee and volunteer for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services at Chicken Alley for several years. She noticed that a great amount of unusable and unsellable donations they received were being discarded. 

“We were just throwing out so much stuff that came in that we couldn’t use, things that had absolutely no use whatsoever,” she said.

In response, she began developing works, and eventually teaching craft classes at Chicken Alley, using the tarnished donations. 

With the help of volunteers, D’Addarie makes bookmarks out of neckties, Christmas stockings from assorted scrap fabrics, and elf ornaments out of flannel button-downs. 

She says that her creative process requires research, a prototype, and patience. A new creation D’Addarie is currently working toward perfecting is a hanging towel. 

“I’m always trolling around YouTube and Pinterest … I must have watched 20 hanging-towel videos,” she said.

The series has been on display at some events, including most recently at the Chilmark Church Holiday Flea Market. And items are available for sale directly through the artist and through Chicken Alley.

D’Addarie is trying to give a second life to discarded material, while also working to improve the lives of community members. Beyond donating her time and skills to her craft, 100 percent of the proceeds made by “Hatched” are donated back to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. 

D’Addarie does all of this while also working part-time at the Oak Bluffs library to sustain her own life following her retirement. 

“Wherever you live, I think it’s your responsibility to take care of people. Community Services is this place that meets the needs of all across the wide range of people on the Island, so I think it’s a good place to volunteer,” she said. “I think we all have to give back to the community. Whether everybody does or not, that’s their own private decision. If for them, it means just writing a check, good for them. I’m not able to write the check. But I can sew.”

 

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