Creating Contemporary “Green” Art from Vintage Clothing

20 Sep

Transformation: Creating Contemporary “Green” Art from Vintage Clothing

Environmental responsibility is intimately woven into fabric art created by Libby & Jim Mijanovich, collectively known as “Mija.” Working exclusively with recycled vintage clothing, they transform countless fragments of materials into intricate, involved textile wall pieces.

Libby and Jim Mijanovich escaped from the fast-paced world of graduate degrees and professional practice when they left their careers in science, engineering and healthcare to follow their creative spirits. Looking for a way to blend art with their environmental convictions, they began recycling vintage cotton shirts to create intricate fabric art installations.

Double Down

“Creating art is a gift,” says Libby, “allowing something beyond our understanding to be expressed; a balance of intuition and creativity.” Trusting in the visual process, stimulated by the colors and patterns, she says, “beauty unfolds and something wonderful happens.”


Jim says they both smile and laugh more than they did in their previous lives, and having their sons involved is an added benefit. “Spending time with family and doing something we all love is one of the best things we could ever do,” says Jim.

The couple formed a company and named it by abbreviating their last name, and thus “Mija” was born. Their website introduces Mija as “a family business based in the mountains of western North Carolina, founded on a philosophy of using the Earth’s resources conscientiously.”

Libby and Jim collaborate on all artistic and constructive aspects of the process, from concept through design and final composition. Libby’s gift for color blending and Jim’s eye for design result in one-of-a-kind pieces that are alive with depth, motion, and the illusion of radiant light.

Flight of Fancy



The first crucial step in their process is carefully selecting a range of materials with textures, patterns, and colors that blend and complement each other. Using up to 30 different fabrics, the artists cut and sew the materials into blocks, allowing the interplay of the fabrics to determine the final design.

Libby Mijanovich In Studio

Each piece is then intricately stitched using vibrant metallic threads to accentuate and complement the overall design. The final result is the creation of a one-of-a-kind, visually dynamic piece that brings to life any room it shares space with.

Each panel is mounted on stretcher frames (similar to a canvas) with a foam core backing for a clean, finished presentation. This allows for numerous display options as pieces can be hung in any orientation – vertically, horizontally or on point.

Commissions are welcome for either residential or commercial installations. “We have extensive experience working on commissions,” says Libby, “and have developed a step-by- step system to facilitate the process from start to finish. We are comfortable working in all palettes and sizes and welcome the opportunity to work with our clients to create environmentally friendly art specifically designed to meet their specific needs.

You can meet Libby and Jim Mijanovich at the upcoming Washington Craft Show, November 19-21 at the Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place NW in downtown DC. Libby will lecture at the show on Friday, November 19 at 3p.m.

The Washington Craft Show is located at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the heart of Washington D.C. Visit the Washington Craft Show website for more information.


Fri. Nov. 19, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. / Sat. Nov. 20, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. / Sun. Nov. 21, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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