Posts Tagged ‘re-purposing’

Detour, With Paper Bag

August 17, 2016

I’m still pondering options for a new handbag, so I made a gift bag instead.

Sheep may safely gift

Sheep may safely gift

Last summer I bought a couple of gift bags at a quilt show. They sported 9-Patches fused onto a brown paper bag and embellished with a single button in the center square. The woman who made them said she had seen the idea somewhere else, so I can’t give proper credit for the technique. I thought about fusing a 9-Patch and decided I would be happier starting with simple strips. Heaven knows I have enough scrap strips around the sewing room. There really is nothing else to it – press the strips, fuse the strips, fuse the unit to the bag. The ribbon star is meant for scrap-booking or card-making and has a sticky pad on the back.

Once for fingers and toes, now with ribbons and bows

Once for fingers and toes, now with ribbons and bows

I did make one other change. Instead of drawing a dotted line around the fused unit with a felt-tipped pen, I used nail polish. Since this was my first attempt, I used gold nail polish, which adds a subtle sheen more than a sharp line. The reason I am using nail polish is I have lots of it and don’t wear it any more. Of course, I never threw it out. Why would I throw it out when I could have it take up space for years and years until I discovered another use for it?

Luck and wisdom!

Theme and Subtext

February 4, 2015

Pick up any book about art and you’ll find a discussion of theme and subtext. Regardless of the medium, artists are admonished to define that which informs the work. The creative process itself can be reduced to exploring the impulse to express the inexpressible through theme and subtext. At least that’s the theory; practice – not so much, not in my studio.

The beginning

The beginning

For the latest Challenge project, I tried working with theory. You can’t grow as an artist if you don’t stretch (and that doesn’t include stretching your hand to the chocolate stash when things aren’t going well at the sewing machine). The theme is the color of music. I started one project already, but found a collection of fabrics which reminded me of 60s music. The fabric cried out for attention. (Neither project is likely to be finished by the deadline, so this isn’t bragging, it’s confessing.) I put two fabrics together and thought, “Self, do this as a row quilt, and let the fabric speak to you.”

I sat at the sewing machine, waiting for the fabric to tell me what it wanted. The entire collection kept silent, and I got bored, and then I noticed how many pieces had dots or circles. Circles led me to cycles, cycles led me to action-reaction, reaction led me back to 60s music and all of a sudden I had my subtext.

Another row, with separator strips

Another row, with separator strips

In row two, I took some pieces I had cut long ago to make fan blocks and re-purposed them for an exploded wheel.

Play along and tell me you see the exploded wheel

Play along and tell me you see the exploded wheel

As an author, I’ve discovered that some readers can find subtext where I thought I was just writing myself out of a corner. Playing with subtext in my quilting gives me a new appreciation for subtext in my writing. Since the series Ann Anastasio and I have going is about quilters saving the world from alien invasion, you never know when the characters are going to recreate on the page what I found in my sewing room.

Luck and wisdom!