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Coffee Filter Kimonos

Lucia Matzger makes Japanese kimonos out of coffee filters.

Lucia Matzger is one of Berkeley’s most innovative mixed media fiber artists. Not only does she create exquisite Japanese kimonos, but she makes them out of coffee filters! Some are even wearable! Some are full size, while others are actually made for garden gnomes. The natural color variations created by overlapping semi-circles of coffee-saturated paper filters, accented with red, gold or beige stitching and buttons, is absolutely baffling. It is truly hard to believe that her creations are not made from precious silks. Her works demonstrate a sophisticated sense of humor, to say the least.

First, Lucia collects the filters from coffeehouses and friends. Any excess coffee grounds are cleaned off with a brush, and the filters are hand-ironed until they are perfectly flat and unwrinkled. She paints a coat of clear acrylic over each ironed filter.

Next she creates her own pattern, and cuts mosquito netting into that form. She photocopies unused coffee filters and other found objects, such as coffee beans and magazine clippings, to use as the lining of the kimono. Those photocopies are then painted onto the inside of the netting with clear acrylic.

The used filters are then laid out into their desired arrangement and photographed to help her remember the pattern. She brings the filters to her sewing machine, lays them back into their pattern form, and glues them onto the outside of the netting with a hot glue gun. The threads hanging from the end of the filters are sewn by hand, through all three layers, and then tied off. The knots are finally coated with acrylic again, and the kimono is hung on a bamboo pole for final display.

The rich color of these kimonos is created solely by the natural oils and stains left on the filters and the overlapping of the different shapes and sizes of filters, creating warm natural tones and deep browns. Who would have thought that such exquisite art could be created from the beginnings of a cup of java? Lucia’s witty sense of style elevates these materials high above their origin.

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