Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Containers, lovely containers

I have a love of containers. Toolboxes, duffel bags, suit cases, french easels, useful objects that make me feel all warm and purposeful. Even the containers that groceries are packaged in seem so full of possibility. (Yes this is how I deal with the growing problem of trash, otherwise I would just get depressed). We have been purchasing more food in containers since we've been here in Georgia. A few things that we usually get in bulk from our co-op at home are rolled oats and honey. Here we get them at the supermarket in packaging.
Greg eats his oatmeal every morning so we've been buying the large container of oats. These lovely heavy cylinders aren't quite recyclable. Yet I eye them fondly, especially when empty. I cannot throw them away. We also eat a ridiculous amount of yogurt, Evan and I. Those large containers are great for leftovers but you only need so many "tupperware." I finally had a flash of an idea one day in my studio when I used the yogurt containers to sort some bits and pieces. Why not make a sort of traveling art case with that lovely large oats cylinder and those large yogurt tubs? A problem I run into often is how to transport my paintbrushes when I go out to paint. The french easel is lovely for my paints but the brushes aren't properly protected. And so I went with the idea of those brush rolls and brainstormed a bit. Here is a little run of pictures of my design process

Lovely Oat Container

Empty yogurt tubs

figuring the depth of the 1st pocket

Larger brushes

Brushes and palette knives

2 containers of mediums and 12 tubes of paint

Fabric and velcro on inner paint tower

Before the straps are attached

Finished paint tote

The other simpler project was making the honey bear into a sippy cup for Evan. For some reason he is really picky about cups. Well he loves the honey bear so I just vented the top and added a straw and voila we have a cup he loves at least for the week.
So there are a few of my little trash projects. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Trash: How I hate it, How I love it.

Scraps drive me crazy.
I love to sew and build things. The process of creating something, from that first little glimmer of an idea, to the finite design of a thing and onto the completion and fine tuning. Nothing gives me more pleasure. And then we have a pile of scraps......bits of fabric, paper, metal, plastic, beads, thread.
I am not someone who works tidily. I can. I don't. For me once the design of a thing is done then there comes controlled chaos. So when I have finished a project, it gleams all new and pretty and I have a huge mess. So clean it up. Right? Well therein lies my problem. I fold up and stow the larger scraps. I put away the tools. And then I sweep and try to throw things away. The bits and pieces seem precious to me. The can in the recycle bin has potential. I cannot throw things away easily. I mean I'll throw away yucky garbage and I'll recycle my bottles. Some things are just too neat though, bright colors and interesting shapes. So I keep them. The other day I decided to make a bag out of what was in the dustpan from my sewing room floor.
I have been playing around with the fused plastic bag and making twine out of the bags but the large scrap of Muslin and other bits and pieces were perfect for

"Trash Bag One"

That led me to make a few more "Trash Bags" and some hats made out of my studio scraps. It also led me to think about the fact that almost everything I make is at least in part upcycled, reused, recycled or repurposed. When I was younger this was a result of necessity. If I wanted to make something first I had to find something that I already had or find something used to reconfigure.
"Waste not Want not" is a huge part of my world view. Couple innate thrift with an insatiable desire to make things and you have craft projects. As I have gotten older my environmental conscience has grown up with me. Luckily I married well. In my case "marrying well" means finding a man who comes from a long line of thrifty, trashpicking, dumpster diving creative people.
So here is a blog about making things, from trash and scraps, bits and pieces. Here is a story about making fun projects, clothes, toys, and even necessities for my son out of garbage or scraps. I hope you enjoy.

Detail picture at top.....sheet flannel bag with smashed bottle caps and fused plastic bag "print"
"Trash Bag One"- muslin, fused plastic, various bits of studio detritus fused between plastic grocery bags, braided bag handle
Blue "Trash bag"- flannel, plastic, bottle caps, silk scraps
"Grocery Bag"- Burlap, fused plastic, satin lined
Evan's doll- old sweatshirt knit, studio scraps, wool yarn

I have a few things listed on Etsy Seller name : EvenRose