Tag Archives: upcycle

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.

The Oakland Bag King

22 Jul

SFGate has an interesting story about Bobby Glasser an entrepreneur in Oakland who saved classic car seat covers from the landfill and turns them into bags. For decades King Kovers produced vinyl seat covers for cars of the 1940s and 50s. In 2007 they closed their doors and Bobby Glasser was there. He noticed nearly 100 boxes of seat covers that were going to be left behind and like a true entrepreneur he saw an opportunity. Glasser took those seat covers off the hands of the people at King, who were just going to leave them behind to be taken to the landfill, and started to make handbags.

This is a great story of seizing an opportunity to upcycle what many would look at as junk and turn it into something useful and desirable again. Take a look at my Etsy store for more examples of upcycled products.

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

Speedo Summer Pavilion

14 Jul

Tree Hugger has a really interesting article featuring recycled Speedos. The Chelsea College of Art & Design in London was given 600 Speedo swimsuits that Speedo was no longer going to be able to sell due to competition rule changes. The students at the school took that swimsuits and and built a structure reminiscent of some spider webs to provide shade in the summer.

It’s a really interesting looking structure and the students at Chelsea College are clearly an innovative bunch. Speedo should be commended for recycling the suits they couldn’t sell and the college should be commended for encouraging students to innovate with recycled materials. Take a look at my Etsy store for some more examples of recycled fabric turned into something useful.