Tag Archives: folk art

Pottery Barn “Handmade” Quilts

20 Sep

Someone recently forwarded the Pottery Barn Quilts, An American Tradition video to me.   A quilt historian, posed in front of a quaint window box,  is discussing the importance of quilting as an art form,  how quilts are passed down through generations, and that Pottery Barn is continuing this tradition with their artisan handcrafted quilts…. what?

Pottery Barn quilts are mass produced by Spartan, a factory in Panipat, Haryana, India, a fact missing from the product information shared in the Pottery Barn video.  As a matter of fact the video painstakingly shows only hands running a needle through fabric.  No meet your artists, no factory shots, no mass of material, no “you are here” distinction at all. But what you do see are historic stills and newsreels of Artists and Art, exactly what Pottery Barn quilts are not.

Here is the ant moving the rubber tree message…

detail of Crazy Road quiltPlease, if you are in the market for a quilt consider supporting true artisans. Why buy mass produced when you can buy 1 of 1?  And in the event you don’t see exactly what you want while you search through thousands of quilts on independent sites or platforms like Esty or Artfire, every artist I know does custom work and many without a surcharge.  Most, like me, warranty their work.  Buying directly from the artist is just as easy as picking up a catalog, but with so many more benefits.  (see 101 Reasons to Buy Handmade)

Quilts are a tradition of beauty, comfort and warmth.  Not an imported, mass produced commodity.

Drop in here to see some of my work, continue through the site to experience real handmade.

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Newspaper Upcycled into Wallpaper

30 Jul

“Newsworthy” is this upcycled newspaper wallcovering  – made from 100 percent recycled newsprint from Weiztner Limited:

Weiztner Newspaper Wallpaper

“Using an age-old technology of upcycling old newspapers, 100% real newsprint strips are handwoven on a loom and then paperbacked to make Newsworthy suitable for the wall. A wonderful, tactile alternative to an expected grasscloth.”

Newspaper to wallpaper

My upcycling techniques are not as industrial intensive as those practiced by Weiztner.  See my textile projects here, several examples of how I transform reclaimed materials into daily use products.

Profile of a Quilter

29 Jul

The Grand Junction Sentinel has a profile of quilter Charlotte Warr Andersen of Salt Lake City. It features some interesting background about this award winning quilter and her accomplishments over the decades. Andersen has a particular focus on quilts featuring portraits of individuals, a technique she’s been perfecting for nearly 30 years.

Reading about people who found success in your craft, whether it’s quilting or anything else, is always inspiring. It helps stoke the creative fires on slower days. Looking at their work can serve as source of ideas.

My work can be seen at Etsy store, maybe you can find some inspiration there.

Upcycling Old Ties

16 Jul

Father’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, or Chanukah are all days when a man may receive that go to gift. The gift the kids go for at the last minute when they can’t think of anything else. The gift the wife or girlfriend may give, because she’s tired of him dragging out that same ratty old one when they go to visit her parent. The tie. Any man who wears a tie on a regular basis has probably gotten one as a gift and most who never wear them have or will some day. So many of these ties will never be worn. They sit in the closet collecting dust until discarded or sold in a Yard Sale.The ties are being collected and sewn together into any number of new configuration. Chairs, handbags, lampshades, and skirts are being made out of ties by various people.

chair from recycled ties

purse from upcycled ties

dress from upcycled ties For some examples of other upcycled fabric head over to my Etsy store.

Cardboard Stool

15 Jul

Today’s  project comes to us from Dangerously Fun. Although they mention buying fresh cardboard from an art supply store, this is a great use for large pieces that line wooden pallets, or breakaway boxes you can pick up from your local grocery store.

This near-danger free, easy to make stool is a beautiful, functional use for cardboard.  View my Etsy for more beautiful, functional recycle/upcycle products.

Cardboard Stool

Materials

  • A. 3/8″ cardboard, 30″ x 40″
  • B. 3/8″ cardboard, 23.5″ x 48″
  • C. 3/8″ cardboard, 24″ x 72″
  • D. White Glue

Tools

  • E. Compass
  • F. Box Cutter
  • G. Straight Edge
Directions

  1. Cut and fold part A, which will form the seat. It is made of multiple 11.5″ diameter circles folded over each other to make a strong sitting surface. The narrow strip is folded around the circumferance of all of the circles to hide the edges.
  2. Cut and fold part B, which is the weight-bearing element in the stool. It is just a large sheet that is rolled into a tight cylinder. You can make folding easier and more precise by using a straight edge and a blunt instrument to score parallel lines into one side of the cardboard. The cardboard will then fold nicely along these lines.
  3. Cut and fold part C, which is mainly decorative. This piece has thin diamonds cut out of it, allowing the middle to be pressed in when it is rolled up. The result is an hour glass shape.
  4. Test fit the parts, and then start gluing things together. It will look most impressive if none of the glue is visible.
  5. Let the glue dry fully before you sit on the stool. If you have built the stool well it will be quite sturdy, but you should sit fairly still. Tilting or leaning will wear it out quickly.

Cardboard Stool

Hobby Helps Haiti

13 Jul
The Chicago Tribune has a story about an 81 year old woman donating 35 years worth of her quilting work to  children in Haiti. Anita Van Ryn has been making quilts for decades, in her spare time, while watching TV. She made them out of recycled t-shirts and dresses. She wasn’t making them for anyone in particular. Then, when the earthquake hit Haiti early this year she saw someone who needed them and made the effort to get 35 of them into the hands of Haiti’s children.

Each of Van Ryn’s quilts has a name and a personal significance. Each comes from a different time in her life. There’s sure to be a story for each of them and now each of them is starting a new story in the hands of a child in need.

Quilts make great donations and also great gifts. I have several available in my Etsy store to purchase for yourself or someone you know who needs to stay warm.

6 Recycled-Sweater Crafts

1 Jul

Several good ideas for sweater recycling from Country Living.  Pull those old sweaters out of the Goodwill bag and fire up the glue gun.

recycle sweater lampshadeMake over a plain pendant shade by cloaking it in wool. First, cut a large sweater in half along a side seam, removing the sleeves. Pull the resulting rectangle of material tightly around the shade so the fabric meets in the back; cut to fit and hot-glue to the shade. Next, trim the sweater lengthwise, leaving an inch of overhang at the top and bottom. Fold the overhang over the shade’s edges and secure on the inside with hot glue. For safety, use a low-wattage bulb.

torchierre shade from recycled sweater
For a small fixture with tons of texture, cut a knit swatch to wrap around your shade, adding an extra half inch to the top and bottom. Hot-glue the fabric to the shade so it meets in the back. Tuck the excess material over the top and bottom edges and hot-glue.
bowl covers from recycled sweaters

Keep decorative dishes in stitches: Pull a sweater sleeve over a bowl, lining up the finished cuff with the top rim, and hot-glue. Next, trim the wool so it reaches the bowl’s bottom edge and hot-glue in place.

bangle bracelets from recycled sweaters

Basic bracelets get dressed for the season in soft yarn (and, if you use jewelry you already own, they cost next to nothing). Just cover a plastic cuff in a strip of chunky knit, then hot-glue in place on the inside.

throw pillow from recycled sweatersTo make this sham, you’ll need an 18-inch square pillow insert and a large sweater, cut into two 19-inch squares. Sew the right sides of the wool together along the edges, leaving the bottom open. Turn right side out and insert the pillow form, then stitch the bottom closed. For the flower, cover a two-inch circle of card stock with a piece of a thin sweater; hot-glue to the circle’s back. Next, fold a 3- by 20-inch strip of another sweater in half lengthwise. Glue the edges together, then sew a running stitch down the strip lengthwise along the glued seam. Once you’ve stitched the entire length, pull the thread to gather the fabric and knot. Hot-glue the gathered edge in a circle to the back of the card stock, then hot-glue a pin-back in the center and affix to the pillow.
vases from recycled sweatersCreate a hothouse for any blossom: Slip a sweater sleeve over a jar or bottle, lining up the cuff with either the top or bottom edge, and hot-glue in place. Cut the wool long enough to cover the entire vessel, then secure with more glue.

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