#handmade · #wearableart · art · artwork · crafts

Wearable Art

I have a thing for creating art that’s wearable. Don’t get me wrong–I have nothing against art that’s hung on walls or that’s set on a shelf. I do those too. But art doesn’t have to just be there.

Just look at those designer clothes that have prints taken from an artist’s watercolor piece. The patterns on fabric that are used for quilts and clothes are made by artists too. Take a look at all the beautiful work on Spoonflower or Patternbank! Just recently, I discovered VIDA and uploaded some of my artwork on scarves and tops.

But this is a website about paper and for quite some time now, I’ve been thinking about putting the odd bits of paper I’ve stashed to good use. I don’t know about you but I have a habit of thinking twice before throwing cuttings from a project into the recycling bin, particularly if the pieces are big.

The best way to find good ideas about projects is to do a search. Nowadays, I find that if I go to Pinterest, it’ll be rare for me not to find something. So that’s what I did. And, I found lots of pins about paper beads!

I remember making paper beads years and years ago. In fact, it was one of the projects I had my preschoolers do. Ours were big and clunky beads, perfect for little hands. But the pin that caught my eye today was this video tutorial.

The beads used here are fair trade beads. You can certainly make your own and then use them to make this Memory Bracelet:

If you’d like to give your support to the Kenyan women who made the beads, you can order them from The Bead Place where they sell the kit. Individual beads are also available, I think, and there are several Easy shops that offer them as well.

If you need tutorials and more ideas, there’s a wealth of them on this page on Pinterest.

For now, I think I’d like to try my hand at making less clunky beads from my paper scraps. It’ll be a good project to do while watching a video or two on Netflix, I think. More on that, by the way, in a future post.

artwork · Uncategorized

Recycling and Upcycling

Last May, we said good-bye to our little apartment above the flower shop in Connecticut and said hello to a duplex in Massachusetts. Needless to say, we were short of a few pieces of furniture here and there. To date, we still do not own a sofa so it’s convenient that we also don’t really know anyone, except our next door neighbor, Pete.

For the next five months, I also didn’t have a night table so my reading lamp was on the floor beside me. So were my books and other night time indispensables (iPad and phone!). We also didn’t have storage in the living room so boxes of videos were piled up against the wall along with the wooden crates that hold my husband vinyl collection.

Finally, one weekend, we decided to visit Ikea. I didn’t like the night stands I’d been seeing at Home Goods so I decided maybe Ikea will have something I can customize. That day, we came home with a beautiful, dark blue cabinet with glass panes on the doors. We also came home with a few useful doodads but no night table.

As my husband was assembling the cabinet, I noticed that the parts came in really sturdy, thick sheets of cardboard. They looked like corrugated boards on steroids! I kept saying how it would be a shame to just pack them off along with the other recyclables.

Then it hit me–why not turn them into a night stand?! Papier mache has been around for centuries, I thought. People have made furniture using the technique. I’ve made papier mache bowls in my childhood. I’ve decorated walls and doors with paper and glue (by the way, even if the glue isn’t waterproof, it’s not easy to remove). I’d never made furniture but I figured it’ll be a good project to experiment with and learn from.

So, to my husband’s dismay, I stashed some of the packing boards in my already crowded work room.


We don’t subscribe to any newspaper but every week we do get flyers, store and grocery newsletters and all kinds of junk mail. I started tearing those for my new project.



If you like getting your hands in the thick of things, papier mache is a good project to try. Of course it made getting to the phone tricky but I made sure I had a towel nearby. At one point, I tried using gloves but the ones I had were a bit large so they didn’t work too well.

This was the time I plowed through a couple of audiobooks. I highly recommend Louise Penny’s mysteries. They’re the kind that you don’t want to stop listening to (or reading) and, at least for my part, will elicit a loud guffaw or two.

The project took me about three weeks to finish. I had to plug up some gaps and awkward spots with paper clay. I also wanted to soften the edges of the top a bit so I smoothed paper clay on those as well. Temperatures had also dropped by then and we’d been having quite a bit of rain so I made sure to give the piece enough time to dry.


When I finally had all the layers I needed, I gave it a coat of primer. Then I dug out my stash of odds and ends and got those in. I found a rose I had pressed some time ago as well as a petal from another rose that was given to me. The daisy at the bottom was also from my stash of pressed flowers. Then I cut out a stencil using my Cricut.


Here it is, almost finished! It’ll remain in that almost finished state for a bit, I suspect. One of my Instagram friends said it can be the¬†“happy project” that I can return to whenever I’m in between projects. I told her that was a really fantastic idea.

In the meantime, I really wanted to get my reading lamp at the right height and to give my corner of the bedroom a bit of cheer. As soon as everything was dry, I brought my papier mache creation upstairs and set everything up.


There are magazines and more books on the lower level of my new night stand. The hubby liked the finished product too.

This was a project I truly enjoyed while feeling like I did a teeny bit for the environment as well. In fact, I’ve been thinking about what to do with all the junk mail that comes every week. One can have only so many night stands, right?

That’s something to think about for sure. This website is called Paper With Everything. Maybe it’s high time I did something about all the paper coming my way!

#SpoonChallenge · #Spoonflower · art · artwork · Beth Kempton · cactus · challenges · deadlines · freezer paper · Global Talent Search · Lilla Rogers · Make It In Design · Montessori · Rachael Taylor · summer school

August Challenges

August is proving to be an exciting month. Or maybe “exciting” isn’t the right word.

At the heels of completing the MATS Bootcamp, I signed up for the free summer school offered by Make It In Design run by Rachael Taylor and Beth Kempton.

Then I entered the Lilla Rogers Studio Global Talent Search contest. I was hedging with that one because it meant having to pay a fee but in the end (I mean that in a literal sense because I signed up at the last minute), it seemed to be a worthwhile endeavor.

Then two days ago, I also joined the 30-Day drawing challenge at Spoonflower. Add to those several notes pinned onto my cork board to remind me of other deadlines for other contests.

So maybe “exciting” isn’t the word I’m supposed to use. Maybe insane is better. Or manic. But here’s the thing. When I joined the MATS Bootcamp, I found that being given a brief and a deadline worked for me. I could focus on creating a particular piece of artwork with rules that gave freedom within limits (sounds very Montessori, doesn’t it?). Five months later, when Bootcamp came to a close, I was sorry to see it end. I was armed with newfound knowledge in both art and design techniques as well as how to approach and determine subject matter. Lilla shared resources and tips and gave encouragement. The other participants’ support and critiques were priceless. Because much of the work I do happens in the confines of my workspace at home, the interaction with fellow boot campers allowed for the kind of enrichment that happens when you surround yourself with other artists (works the same with my writing group!).

That’s why when I received the invite to join the MIID’s summer school, I decided to go for it. The format was the same in that a design brief is assigned at the beginning of the week. There is a theme, inspiration links, a deadline. There is also a Facebook group where you can ask for or give help.

Now for the other contests. I got wind of the Spoonflower 30-Day challenge a bit late so I joined on the third day. This one is easier because all you have to do is to make a sketch based on the daily prompts that come in your email. You’re free to share your work or to just keep it to yourself. The point is to get you drawing every single day. I hopped on to this one because I felt it was a great way to warm-up for the summer school assignments as well as for the Global Talent Search artwork. If not a warm-up, it can also serve as a “break” when I need to walk away. The same goes for the other contests tacked up on my cork board. Sometimes I get ideas for them while working on the assigned brief. Sometimes I come up with a design that doesn’t work for the assignment but has possibilities for something else.

I haven’t felt this fired up about doing artwork for quite some time. Designs and ideas float around my head even when I’m trying to whip up dinner. When it’s time to wind down at night, I sit in front of the TV with my husband but I’m sliding through magazines on issuu.com for more inspiration.

So this is where August finds me. It will be a month of making art. Contests notwithstanding, by the 31st, I will have made 30 pieces of artwork. If you care to follow my progress with the 30 pieces, I’ll be posting each one as I finish them on Instagram. You’ll also be able to see everyone else’s work here.

Here is the first one. The prompt was Cactus. I used freezer paper to make the stencils and used acrylic paint on Strathmore Mixed Media paper. Audiobook I had on was Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (I had The Book of Life but forgot what the previous one was about so had to do a relisten first).

Prompt #1 Cactus