Dana Sitar with her upcycled tunics made from recycled fabrics.

Dana Sitar with her upcycled tunics made from recycled fabrics.

Artist finds new life and passion in fibres

Dana Sitar upcycles, recycles and fashions art from fibres

Pirjo Raits

Sooke News Mirror

Dana Sitar is up-cycling her life. Gorgeous saris, remnants of antique lace, paintings on canvas, luscious brocades, silks and denim jeans all go into her one-of-a-kind creations. She’s a human dynamo, passionate about her art, life and all it has to offer.

Sitar has been a recycler her whole life. When she was young and living under communism in Czechoslovakia, she would carefully unravel her grandmother’s old sweaters and fashion herself new ones. She was taught to knit, crochet and sew by her mother and she made her own clothes. There was no such thing as boutiques with the latest fashions where she came from.

“I’ve always been a recycler, it was necessary at the time, it still is but more it’s just to save money — I hate to see waste,” said Sitar.

She came to Canada 23 years ago after escaping and hasn’t look back. Her family chose Canada because of the draft in her country and her anti-war stance.

“We thought Canada was the best place to go, Canadians are known as peacekeepers rather than warriors,” she said. They also came for the nature and the opportunities to hike, camp, cycle and ski which she did for years until 2007.

Life changed for Sitar in a split second. She was in a horrendous car accident  and almost lost her leg. This was life altering. It meant she could no longer do all of the outdoor activities she loved. She fell into a depression during the months she was recovering — she thought her life was over. While looking at art on a computer she saw a picture of the most beautiful dress made with a nuno felting technique. This got her out of bed and on the road to recovery, both mentally and physically.

She discovered felting.

“I got out of bed, ordered wool, learned from the Internet and I tried it. Since that day it is my passion.”

Her philosophy on life is simple. “Don’t dwell on what you can’t do anymore, dwell on what you can.”

Felt is an age-old technique using wool, water and friction. It’s essentially  how you wreck your pure wool sweaters when you throw them in a washing machine, except Sitar’s results are controlled. She washes, cards and dyes local fleece and supplements that with purchased fleece roving.

For the up-cycled clothing she reworks garments made from great fabrics into new styles with a slight Bohemian flair. Very trendy, very well made very and sought after. She finds her treasures in second hand stores and often wonders about the original owner.

“Old lace is so delicate and I wonder which woman made this, how long did it tale and what was her life like. I try to give it justice when I remake it into something else, that’s part of my enjoyment.”

Satir’s work was accepted for the Sooke Fine Arts Show in 2010 and she is represented at the Coast Collective Gallery in Metchosin.

Sitar will be selling her work at the All Sooke Arts and Craft Christmas Fair at the Sooke Community Hall from November 15-18. She will also be at awareness film night on Nov. 13 at EMCS to talk about recycling after the film Trashed airs.

At the fair she is offering a wide variety of creations, everything from felted slippers and mittens to bags and up-cycled clothing.

She brings new life to those things she finds and in turn they have given her a new life and new passion.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Sooke has launched a new online community engagement platform, letstalksooke.ca, where residents can share feedback and stay up to date on projects and initiatives that are happening in their community. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke launches online engagement portal

The District of Sooke has launched a new online community engagement platform… Continue reading

Island Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak in two houses at the Mount St. Mary long-term care home on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)
Island Health declares outbreak at Victoria long-term care home

Resident, staff member test positive for COVID-19 at Mount St. Mary facility

A peacock struts by a pair of lamb siblings at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, which remains closed to the public. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
VIDEO: Victoria petting zoo optimistic about future after 13 months closed

Public helps non-profit Beacon Hill Children’s Farm with nearly $100,000 influx

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

Sewer construction will mean limited access to West Shore Parkway from Sooke Road for the next week. (Courtesy of the City of Langford)
West Shore Parkway access limited from Sooke Road

Crews working on sewer construction for the next week

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Most Read