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Recycling & upcycling

Recycled hearts for wall hanging

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Biedermeier hearts wall hanging [Tutorial]

I’m afraid the image doesn’t do the wall hanging justice, but these are really very attractive and make nice little gifts so you might like to try this one out for yourselves. There is only one heart in the photograph, but the wall hanging actually has 3 of them, one above the other.
Click on the button below to download the PDF file instructions.

Christmas carriers

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Eco-friendly shoppers

Let me just remind you that you can find our tutorials for Christmas themed carrier bags in these downloadable pdf files. You will need to download the images and the tutorial pdf.

We offer two different versions of the carrier — one in traditional reds and greens and the other in more elegant shades of grey.


Just download the files and instructions for these shoppers using the links below.




New colours

multi-fabric-necklace001-300x166We have recently added some new colours for the multi-strand recycled textile necklaces which have proved so popular this year. You can now find them in purple, white, coral, turquoise and mid-brown, in addition to the black, navy, light green and dark red previously listed. Contact us if you are interested and we will put your preferred colour up for you as a personalised listing to purchase on Etsy.
 

Biscuit tube tutorial

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Some wonderful well meaning relatives came over to visit us recently, and brought a mountain of ginger nut biscuits to me as a gift!! Well not many biscuits left, but the carton tubes which contained them are still around and here is what I have done with one of them. A pretty container to use as a special gift wrap, or perhaps to store my crochet needles inside.
Well, go collect the tutorial for yourselves but you will need to eat your biscuits first of course ;)

Recycled music

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Every now and again I make an assault on my collection of books in an effort to organize them a bit better. Don’t usually have much success as books are one of my great weaknesses and Amazon frequently drops a few more onto the doormat – vicious circle really.

But this one caught my attention and I thought I would bring it in here. It has been used quite a few times surprisingly enough in spite of its ‘unusual’ content.

I belong to a non-profit association, and have done for some 20 years now. As inspiration strikes, each of us over the years has suggested various activities which we prepare for the ‘locals’ of all ages. Maybe it’s down to my cultural background and traditions that my events are often considered ‘strange’ but are usually embraced with bemused enthusiasm by the rest of the team.

And this is where this book comes into the story, because one year I convinced everyone to collect ‘rubbish’ for a couple of months – clean rubbish of course – from the kitchen roll carton tube (no loo roll tubes thank you), to the empty coke cans, to the corona bottle caps, to the old inner tubes, saucepan lids, shells etc.etc. We had mountains of the stuff – and we made a sample series of musical instruments using what we had found with the addition of some dry lentils, beans and so on. Then at Carnival time, we set up a local hall with tables all around the hall with mounds of the ‘rubbish’ and all the tools necessary to create and decorate the ‘instruments’ – and then waited for the onslaught of kids and adults which followed. Where there is free food and drinks and a party, very few people hold back!

It was fascinating to watch (and help) as the parents, with a little assistance from ourselves, helped their kids make all sorts of instruments over the next couple of hours, and then join in as our guest percussion band taught the kids to ‘play’ the instruments.

Great day – and my suggestion is, if you have anything to do with children as teachers – or just as parents, this is a great party piece and I’m pretty sure that you can find a similar book in English. If you want any specific ideas about the instruments, just give a shout. Some of them are pretty obvious, like hammering saucepan lids with wooden spoons, but there are others which are a bit more complex …

NB. Not much of the material is suitable for very small children as a lot of recycled bits have sharpish or jagged edges – just think of drink cans or bottle tops for instance. Adult assistance is essential for this activity.

Getting knotted

Been getting myself tangled in Celtic knots to produce this attractive upcycled knotted brooch, created using industrially upcycled fashion fabric yarn. Set on a felt backing with metal closure, I added some hand beading with glass Rocaille beads. For the time being this is the only colour available – a lovely brick tan with black beading. I’m sure others will follow.

Painting with glue

metallic-leavesRemember the post I put up about checking out the dustbins some while back?

I mentioned some salvaging I had done – or rather – my husband had done on my behalf – of display items which had been thrown out by a local store – they never actually went in the garbage by the way! Well I have a dozen of them sitting in my craft room, and this weekend I decided to put one of these boards to the test with paints and heavy colouring treatment to see how well it survived.

I’m actually quite pleased with the results even though I consider this to still be a work in progress as I am not 100% satisfied with the painting – there are still a couple of areas I will be giving my attention to – a few more details to be added. I have included an image here anyway so that you can see for yourselves the direction the work is taking.

I knew I was going to be using metallic paints and inks, so I wanted the base/background to have a sort of grungy copper type effect with a touch of ‘verdigris’. That was achieved using an earthy/orange coat of paint and a dark umber, both of which were brushed on with a large brush in a very irregular manner. I then used my brayer wrapped with randomly wrapped string to add streaks of turquoise. When everything had dried nicely I used a background stamp for adding minute gold details.When all the upper layer 3D details (created using my hot glue gun) were dry and painted, I sponged the whole painting with black shoe polish and quickly rubbed away some areas to reveal the gold details below.

Great fun, though very smelly! Make sure you keep your windows open if you try this.

A few earrings for you

As promised, here are some earrings, and there are more on the way. These are super chunky and great fun – not for the weak hearted! All made using upcycled stretch fabric, and then ‘garnished’ with some lovely felted cord. Dangly glass beads at the base in coordinating colours. A sure way to get noticed this winter!

Check out the dustbins

Might seem a little bold and osé, but give careful consideration to a thorough rummage through the dustbins of your local clothing (and not only) chain stores.

It is common practice for them to change the store display quite frequently, and most of the old display will end up in the dustbins. It goes without saying that an awful lot of what they chuck out will be of very little ‘aesthetic’ interest, but just a small percentage bears giving a second thought – and in many cases, a second chance.

My hubby works very close to a well-known clothing store which has just changed its display and thrown out a couple of dozen large, cardboard based, photographic images. Each of them is about 70 x 50 cms. My daughter has already taken away a couple that she likes for the bare walls in her new apartment, and I am waiting to see what others hubby brings home from the collection to make a final decision about what goes up in the studio.

What’s left over I will offer to neighbours and some students across the way. I reckon quite a few people will be pleased that we went garbage picking!

NB. You would probably be wise to ask for permission to ‘rummage’ so as not to infringe any laws on privacy etc. Better still ask the manager to give you the stuff before they throw it in the bins!

Mixed media lino prints

art-washI do mixed media work using upcycled newspapers with my lino cuts and here you can see the base sheets hanging outside my window to dry. When there is  a breeze up I keep my fingers tightly crossed that they don’t all end up in the canal directly beneath the window!!

When these sheets dry, they then get a partial cover of gesso before eventually having the prints added on top. The prints will be my usual lino prints but will have the added attraction of the newspaper cuttings’ base – a style which is a bit more contemporary and tends to appeal to a different audience.

lino-saluteHere on the right is a sample of the mixed media lino cut prints…each is then framed by the textured cardstock matte frame which finishes them off really nicely. Every one comes out with a totally unique combination of colours highlighted with copper paint (or silver or gold – whichever is most appropriate for the base colour scheme). I just choose the basic colourways – usually 3 different colours and then wait for the surprise…never quite sure how the finished mix will look!

Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'
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