Suit Yourself – September/October 2006

George Shuster, CEO of one of America’s oldest fabric companies, gets a thrill from piecing recycled apparel labels into animated, graphic quilts.
Picture a couple sitting by a cozy fireplace, one spouse reading to the other who is busy sewing. Surprisingly, the nimble quilter in this particular scenario is the husband.
“I love the fact that I can talk to my wife while I’m sewing,” says George Shuster. This textile executive began recycling embroidered fabric garment labels more than twenty-five years ago.
“Labels are per square inch the most expensive part of a garment,” says George. “I have a quilter’s mentality and I love to use the discarded scraps.”
George whipstitches batches of labels into a block of “fabric” and then cuts and pieces his shapes. He then stitches them onto heavy backing fabric.
Pride of Delaware, 36″ x 54″, 2004. The Blue Hen is he mascot of the University of Delaware and also Delaware’s state bird. George Shuster chose to immortalize this enduring symbol of his birthplace on his quilt. Dark and light garment labels provide contrasting “fabric” for the proud bird.
Above: Moby Dick, The Great White Whale, 84″ x 60″, 1999. Like Melville’s classic novel, this quilt was a labor of love which took George nearly a decade to complete. His marine biologist father and a fascination with sperm whales inspired the creation of the padded creature that swims in an ocean of dark blue labels. George’s goal was to conquer a sizeable project, which he certainly did. Below: Label Pillows, 14″ x 14″, 1980-1988. Shown below are two of more than twenty pillows George made as his first projects using labels.
George Shuster is Chairman, President, and CEO of Cranston Print Works Co. in Rhode Island.
He is an amateur cetologist, an avid stonemason, and a champion Masters’ Rower in what he calls the “ideal geezer sport.”
George may be contacted at:
Cranston Print Works Co.,

1381 Cranston St.
Cranston, RI 02920
(401) 943-4800

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