Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sewing With Recycled Materials

Three things you need to know about me and anything crafty:
1.  I love recycling
2.  I never throw anything away
3.  I never turn down free stuff

That being said, I do a lot of sewing using recycled materials, stuff people have given me, and little scraps from other projects.  I like to save things and wait for just the right project to use them on.  Lately I had the opportunity to create a yoga mat bag for a friend.  The yoga mat is very thick and heavy so the bag needed to be strong, and she wanted a pocket for cell phone, keys, etc.  This is the same person that gave me several bags stuffed full of upholstery samples that a local furniture store was going to get rid of.  So I sorted out a bunch of the upholstery samples that looked good together and went to town!  I also just happened to have a navy blue shirt pocket that fit perfectly with this project.  I lined the bag with cream colored canvas to make sure it was extra sturdy, and used an old pair of blue jeans to make the drawstring strap.  (The only things I bought to make this project were the grommets to attach the handle, and the canvas.)

Pulling out my upholstery samples inspired me to create some small zippered pouches using the leftovers.  I bought another bag of upholstery samples at a rummage sale a couple years ago.  Most of the fabric is heavier cotton with fun prints.  At this same rummage sale I picked up a big bag of assorted zippers (both the zippers and the fabric probably cost less than $2.)  For these pouches I used bits of coordinating upholstery samples, some of that canvas I bought for the yoga bag as the pouch lining, and whatever zipper I could find.  I also am using scraps of old button down shirts I had leftover from making purses.

This brings me to my shirt purses.  I started making these a few years ago from my own pattern.  Since then I have made at least 7 of them.  The bags are slouchy hobo-style purses made from old shirts and upholstery samples with necktie handles.  Not only are these bags recycled, they are reversible!  I try to pick fabrics and neckties that go well together, and sometimes the button down shirts I choose are really awesome fabric... but really ugly shirts.

Speaking of ugly shirt fabric... this ipod case used to be a ridiculous lime green plaid shirt.  The inside is a scrap of green fleece, and the gray portion is from the leftovers after hemming some dress pants.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Construction Site Photos

On Monday I had the opportunity to tour the construction site for the new buildings on campus.  The "new" buildings are actually two old music buildings and an old church that are being rennovated into music performance and practice spaces.  The project is being partially funded by historical tax credits after the buldings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places last year.  The architect of the project gave a presentation about what it means for a building to be on the Register of Historic Places and how that changes the requirements when rennovating that building.  Maintaining the integrity of the original architecture is one of the main restrictions when rennovating an historic building.  More information about the National Register of Historic Places can be found on the National Park Service website.

(Click on the photos to view the full sized versions on Flickr.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Etsy Treasury

I created an Etsy treasury full of my favorite M-related things.  Follow the link or click on the picture to view the complete treasury.

New Paintings

The first completed project for my painting class was an "unusual view" painting.  The idea was to paint a space that would not normally be considered art, or to take a normal location and portray it in an unusual way.  My painting is of the bushes and icicles outside my kitchen window.  My current apartment is a ground floor apartment, so the windows look out at ground level.  This creates what I consider to be an unusual view.  In this painting I focused on creating a subtle color variation in the otherwise neutral areas.  I also wanted to capture the radiant qualities of the ice.

Another recent project was a painted self portrait using subjective color.  This means instead of using realistic flesh colors I used various shades of violets.  To help create the small changes in the planes of the face, I added red-violet and blue-violet in certain areas.  The self portrait was an intriguing challenge and I can see more self portraits in my future.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Textural Monotypes

Last month my printmaking class experimented with textural monotypes.  A textural monotype involves blackening a plate with ink, placing textured materials on top, and printing the plate.  The areas with textures placed on top will print white unless rolled with ink, and the background will print black.  The fun part about textural monotypes is rearranging the textures and reprinting the plate.  Moving the textural materials will leave impressions in the ink on the plate, and will coat the back of the textured material with ink.

This set of prints was created using yarn, part of an old knit sweater, die cut scrapbook paper, lace, and ric-rac.

This set of prints was created using lace, die cut scrapbook paper, paper doilies, and a photocopy of a photograph.
I transferred the photo using a paper lithograph technique.  I coated the photocopy with gum arabic, which allowed ink to stick to the black areas of my photocopy, and resist the white areas.  It basically turns the photocopy into a temporary printing plate.