#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.

#handmade · #karichapin · 2015 · bags · Divine Mercy · New Project · painting · sewing

New Year New Project

December came and went just like that.

Well, maybe not really since I was in a frenzy trying to finish handmade gifts that I said I wasn’t making. However, when funds are tight, it’s amazing how it becomes possible to shift the minutes so that there are pockets of it for keeping on track with the business of the day-to-day (read: eat regular meals and such) and still finish up gifts in time for handing over on Christmas Day.

I’ve been asked about the why of this craziness that comes when there are special occasions. Standard answer is that even if the giftee might not like the gift, there is, at least for me, the idea that when I made it, I put a bit of myself in whatever it was I made. The other more obvious one is that the gift will be unique to that person because it’s not something that will be found in any shop or bazaar. The third reason is that I really just like making things so I figure I’m sharing the joy of that in some way.

Something came out of making those four bags. I decided that 2015 will be the year I make bags. Here’s a little back story.

I’m normally a very calm person–ask my sisters. Most disastrous events in my life have come and gone without very much public drama from my end. I came to the conclusion that since I can have the attention span of a hummingbird, it may happen that I move on instead of dwelling.

But I had something happen to me that occupied my thoughts most of my waking hours. It got so bad that one day, I found myself talking to a picture I have on my cork board of the Divine Mercy. One of the things I do is to stop whatever I’m doing at 3:00 and say the short chaplet followed by a short novena. That particular day, I didn’t stop with the novena. I did what might horrify some staunch Catholics. I started berating God.

Yup, there I was, blubbering and sniffling and accusing Him of not paying attention. I went on and on about how He promised this and that and what more does He want–the usual rants of someone who won’t listen to reason because no answer will do.

Then I started answering my own questions. This happened very spontaneously–there was no lull in between the ranting and the answering where I could have thought things through. I just segued from demanding answers to giving them.

When I paused to blow my nose, my eyes shifted from the picture of the Divine Mercy to a large note I had pinned above it months before. I had written it because a friend suggested the idea sometime in the Spring. In large letters, I wrote: CAN YOU START THINKING ABOUT MAKING BAGS?

So I sat there, holding my tissue, and I said, “Oh.”

The Christmas gifts post printing and just before sewing.

My Facebook post showing the pieces I had painted.

The half-finished bag that I decided would be for my own use.

The finished bag with outer pockets that I love but proved to be more work than I intended!
Poetry by Virginia Lichauco de Leon that’s always been one of my favorites because I need more bouquets, I think.
The inside of the bag that I customized to suit my preferences.

A new bag in the making.

A close up of what the other side of the bag and handles will have.
I also began listening to Kari Chapin’s podcast just to keep the fire going. On Facebook, I told one of my friends that my project for 2015 is to be a geriatric Kate Spade. I should  have said middle-aged. I don’t think I’m geriatric quite yet.
As for the Divine Mercy, He was probably shaking His head and smiling, thinking I deserved to have a good cry anyway. 

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#handmade · paper art · Uncategorized

Paper Quilling!

In my family, I was always The Artist. This was actually an inaccurate label although the possession of a certain kind temperament may have led to such a conclusion. My mother used to say that I must have gotten the artist’s gene from my great grandmother but although she was a banker for most of her working life, Mom had a real gift for decorating living spaces. My older sister used to say she had no artistic bone in her body but just like my mom, she too had a wonderful knack for design.

Then there’s my younger sister, Pinky, who also draws and does caricatures. She used to do a whole lot of cross stitching which I thought was easy until I tried it. I think I only managed to complete one project and it was a small one. She also knits and crochets. The fact that she knits scarves in a country where you all you want to do is stay under a shower or in a pool or live by the beach is of no consequence. The whole idea of it is for her to be able to give them as gifts to relatives who live in freezing weather a few months every year. She has her own version of practicality.

A few years back, Pinky started doing paper quilling. That was about the time I was into rubber stamping. The idea of quilling intrigued me, specially since I saw what could be done with all those colored strips of paper. There was no Pinterest back then so what Pinky and I saw were those featured in magazines. The intrigue didn’t last too long in my case. I couldn’t see myself cutting and rolling all those strips of paper! It was different for my sister, though. She found a pack of colored strips and she was hooked. The tricky part was that there were no real craft stores in Manila and there was no abundance in terms of supplies. Still, she managed to decorate scrap books with them. One Christmas, the womenfolk received notecard sets from her and we were thrilled because the cards were embellished with quilling. We knew the kind of work she put in to make each and every card. Then when it was no longer easy to find supplies, she moved on to other interests (like knitting scarves in the middle of summer).

Last week I received an email from her asking me to check out something called a quilling fringer. I wasn’t sure how the thing worked until I watched a You Tube video. I could see why anyone who quilled would love to have one! But then it brought to mind the pieces my sister made so I told her she was going to be featured in this blog. Note that the flowers she made were fringed using scissors–the fringer contraption wasn’t available yet!

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What got you into quilling and when did you start? 

I’ve always been fascinated with filigree in any form. The idea of twirling something seemed fun. I also like colors so when I saw the paper strips bonded together in colors of the rainbow on display for quilling I just had to get some for myself.

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What materials/equipment did you have?
Initially I only had one twirling tool. Come to think of it I still do! There paper strips that come in 3 sizes, paper glue, dressmakers pins, cork board and a very good pair of scissors. The board with the circle came in last. That helped a lot in making consistent sizes.
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You used to do a whole lot of cross stitching. How would you compare your experience cross stitching with paper quilling?
Quilling is kinder to the eyes. Both take a certain amount of patience. In quilling the satisfaction comes from putting the pieces together and seeing the finished design. With cross stitch it was seeing the 3D effect when the gradation of a certain color came to life or, inserting the stiff gold or silver thread or bead, painstakingly perfect- that was it!
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Is there a quilling artist who serves as an inspiration or mentor?
No one in particular but there are British and Japanese artists that make beautiful almost mural size designs that are jaw dropping. I saw a Mona Lisa quilled. I still dream of making one for the wall but for now I make blank cards. I practiced by making borders for my scrapbook. At least if it ends up bad nobody has to see it.
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What’s your process? How do you come up with ideas?
Again it’s the colors. I get excited when I see the shades. Then my imagination gets moving. But to make Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night in quill is a project that’s been in my head for some time now. However, knitting is getting in the way. Still obsessed with knitting for now.
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If you had a quilling “wish list” what would it look like?
I still want a fringer!!! Hahaha!!! Wish list? I still wish we had Michael’s or other craft stores in my country!