“A straw dress or straw from shoes?”

IMG_2579Artist/Designer: Katrin Belen, modell: Magdalena Baryła (Photo: Evela Art, 09.2019)

The above creation was created as a result of the bet between artist Katrin Belen’s with her acquaintance farmer regarding the fact that the straw which he ownes can also a great material for making a dress. The bet was about chocolate, which, according to the designer, tasted delicious during the photo shoot. The straw used to create the dress returned to its rightful owner after the photo shoot.


Straw is an agricultural byproduct consisting of the dry stalks of cereal plants after the grain and chaff have been removed. It makes up about half of the yield of cereal crops such as barley, oats, rice, rye and wheat. It has a number of different uses, including fuel, livestock bedding and fodder, thatching and basket making.

Straw is usually gathered and stored in a straw bale, which is a bale, or bundle, of straw tightly bound with twine, wire, or string. Straw bales may be square, rectangular, or round, and can be very large, depending on the type of baler used.

Current and historic uses of straw include:

  • Animal feed
  • Basketry
  • Bedding: humans or livestock
    • The straw-filled mattress, also known as a palliasse, is still used in many parts of the world.
    • It is commonly used as bedding for ruminants and horses. It may be used as bedding and food for small animals, but this often leads to injuries to mouth, nose and eyes as straw is quite sharp.
  • Biofuels
  • Biogas
  • Biomass
  • Construction material:
    • In many parts of the world, straw is used to bind clay and concrete.              A mixture of clay and straw, known as cob, can be used as a building material. There are many recipes for making cob.
    • When baled, straw has moderate insulation characteristics (about R-1.5/inch according to Oak Ridge National Lab and Forest Product Lab testing). It can be used, alone or in a post-and-beam construction, to build straw bale houses. When bales are used to build or insulate buildings, the straw bales are commonly finished with earthen plaster. The plastered walls provide some thermal mass, compressive and ductile structural strength, and acceptable fire resistance as well as thermal resistance (insulation), somewhat in excess of North American building code. Straw is an abundant agricultural waste product, and requires little energy to bale and transport for construction. For these reasons, straw bale construction is gaining popularity as part of passive solar and other renewable energy projects.[2]
    • Composite lumber: Wheat straw can be used as a fibrous filler combined with polymers to produce composite lumber.[3]
    • Enviroboard can be made from straw.
    • Strawblocks are strawbales that have been recompressed to the density of woodblocks, for compact cargo container shipment, or for straw-bale construction of load-bearing walls that support roof-loads, such as a “living” or green roofs.
  • Crafts
  • Construction site sediment control
  • Hats
  • Horticulture
    • Straw is used in cucumber houses and for mushroom growing.
    • In Japan, certain trees are wrapped with straw to protect them from the effects of a hard winter as well as to use them as a trap for parasite insects.
    • It is also used in ponds to reduce algae by changing the nutrient ratios in the water.
    • The soil under strawberries is covered with straw to protect the ripe berries from dirt, and straw is also used to cover the plants during winter to prevent the cold from killing them.
    • Straw also makes an excellent mulch.
  • Packaging
    • Straw is resistant to being crushed and therefore makes a good packing material. A company in France makes a straw mat sealed in thin plastic sheets.
    • Straw envelopes for wine bottles have become rarer, but are still to be found at some wine merchants.
    • Wheat straw is also used in compostable food packaging such as compostable plates. Packaging made from wheat straw can be certified compostable and will biodegrade in a commercial composting environment.[11]
  • Paper
    Straw can be pulped to make paper.[12]
  • Rope
    • Rope made from straw was used by thatchers, in the packaging industry and even in iron foundries.
  • Shoes
  • Targets
    • Heavy gauge straw rope is coiled and sewn tightly together to make archery targets. This is no longer done entirely by hand, but is partially mechanised. Sometimes a paper or plastic target is set up in front of straw bales, which serve to support the target and provide a safe backdrop.
  • Thatching
    • Thatching uses straw, reed or similar materials to make a waterproof, lightweight roof with good insulation properties. Straw for this purpose (often wheat straw) is grown specially and harvested using a reaper-binder.


Straw can be the material used by artists. At the same time, there is a negative connotation in Polish, such as “straw from shoes”. It means a lack of intelligence and good manners. Colloquially speaking, straw sticks out of the shoes of those who do not understand “Art” by the great A and are trying to keep down the great artists, as well as wise and educated people, to their own, only understandable level. In recent days, we have been able to observe such a verbal attack from the lips of one of the deputies of the ruling party on the artist Janusz Gajos – a famous prominent Polish theatre and film actor, professor of theatrical arts and doctor honoris causa of the Łódź Film School, winner of many prestigious awards and distinctions. There would be nothing surprising about it if it wasn’t for the fact that the epithets that this lady gave the artist de facto perfectly describe her and have nothing to do with the aforementioned actor.



Katrin Belen (age 36) – has lived in Germany for 8 years, where she works as a physiotherapist. She has been designing artistic creations for 2 years. In 80% they are made from recycled materials. Her creations are on the covers of magazines, music scenes and are used in music videos. Katrin also runs a fashion show in Pepe TV for the Polish community. Her creations can be seen at fashion shows or various events. She cooperates with the best photographers from Poland and Germany. At the moment she is in the process of creating new great creations for companies and fashion magazines. The artist is open to cooperation and new challenges related to the created fashion art.