Modern art installation from antique dryer

I am fortunate to live in a town that has some great antique stores and on a recent trip, I found an antique clothes dryer from 1887. Once I hung it up on the wall, I thought it would make a great structure for a modern silk felted art installation.

Antique clothes dryer from 1887 hung on wall with 8 30in wooden arms spread out 180 degrees
Antique Clothes Dryer

I had some sari silk ribbon that I had been dying to use so I decided to go with a silk theme throughout.

I first started by felting a series of 32 recycled sari silk and merino wool blended top flowers. The flower color is a coppery pumpkin with flecks of pink, blue and purple woven throughout with gray silk fiber centers and they are strung in a series with fishing line.

Silk blooms made from copper colored sari silk and merino wool blended fibers strung up in a series on fishing line
Chain of silk blooms

Next I created wool balls in colors of black, yellow, cream and gray and needle felted whisps of the silk and merino wool fibers around the balls. I then dyed 100 silk cocoons in golds, coppers and browns and strung both the balls and the cocoons on fishing line as well.

Now it was time to start hanging them on the dryer.

Once I had all of the fishing lines hung, I created a series of knotted ribbons forming a loose half circle macramé to hang underneath.

I started by wiring in some cool little battery operated lights that I had leftover from my angler fish project and loved the shadows that they cast but I realized that this wasn’t a very practical way to light up the installation so I found Christmas vine string lights that contain 10 strands of waterfall lights and can support either battery power or be plugged in (score!).

I love it at night but it is very impressive in its scale in the daylight as well. During the day, you can really see how much the silk blooms and cocoons look like the galaxies in the deep space photos from the James Webb space telescope.

Silk galaxy with silk fiber blooms, silk cocoons, sari silk ribbons and fairy light strings hung on antique clothes dryer to create modern silk art installation
Silk Galaxy Installation

This silk art installation is large. When the antique dryer is spread out completely, it spans 5 ft wide and from the top of the dryer to the end of the ribbons, it is 7 ft tall.

I love the juxtaposition of the antique dryer with such a modern art installation. I haven’t found a buyer for this one yet but I am tempted to keep it for myself. I have a 2 story living room with a nice flat wall that this is just screaming to be installed on 🙂 Alas, we are trying to downsize so we can move more permanently into our cabin and I will no longer have the right spot for this so it should find a new home where it can be the star.

Let me know if you have just the right space!!

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