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New life for old jeans: Camphill Kimberton’s upcycled denim rugs

New life for old jeans: Camphill Kimberton’s upcycled denim rugs

At Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, we are doing our part to lessen our impact on the Earth. We have a strong dedication to the idea that the health of people and the land are not separate, that a community of people putting healthy ideals into practice can be in a mutually beneficial relationship with the land it stewards. Organic and biodynamic farming, gardening and overall stewardship of the land are important elements of our care for the Earth.  Please read more about our commitment to sustainable building and ecological design by clicking here.

We also work hard at upcycling – taking waste and making it into something that has equal or greater use or value.  Kimberton Hills’ weavery and fiber arts workshops do this regularly. For example, we create beautiful hand-woven rugs out of old jeans and felted juggling balls around used golf balls. We also reuse printed materials as space holders on looms or to create tags for items.

Bill and denim rug

Our upcycled denim rugs have become a signature item.  Bill Lewis, who has lived in Kimberton Hills since 1976, is one of our talented denim rug weavers, injecting new life into old jeans that are donated by the wider community.

Bill undertakes the whole process of weaving himself.  The preparation entails cutting up lengths of suitable denim material to be woven into the loom.  This is then fed through the warp while maintaining the specific rhythm of the foot pedals in order to create his classic jean rug appearance.  Bill also intermittently incorporates an assortment of colors within his pieces, to make each one stand apart from the others.

“I like adding in the different colors with the denim,” says Bill.   I concentrate hard while I am working on each rug.  I have to be careful when I am finishing the edges of the rug.  The blue edges are important for the finished rug.  I like to work in the dark jeans and the light jeans.  That makes it look nice.”

Bill at his loomBill has skill, enthusiasm and speed, all of which are ingredients that he pours into creating a unique masterpiece.

Bill's rug


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