Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Projects in the Works

My husband teases me relentlessly about my "projects"  He is very supportive of any project I tackle, as long as it isn't him.

I love creative projects because they have a definite start and a final finish.  They don't drag on and on, hang over my head, or loom endlessly on a future To-Do list.  I do them, enjoy them, and move on.  Ideas bounce around in my head like Bingo balls and when one settles, I plunge full-steam ahead in my typical all-or-none fashion.   So, whether it's a commitment to train for a half-marathon, complete a quilt, or make cards for a friend, I'm there, up to my elbows or knees (and sometimes both) in the doing.  I'm not much of a sitter, and being still is only a dream notion for me.

Every once in a while it's nice to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor.  The most fun projects are those that are shared. Here's the latest.

I am working on projects from an ingenious book, reinvention, by Maya Donenfeld, that features sewing with rescued materials.  I have been scouring local thrift shops for garments of lovely linen at bargain prices.  According to the book, "Linen is derived from the fibers of flax, one of the oldest agricultural plants in the world. It has withstood the test of time because of its inherent resiliency and versatility. More than twice as strong as cotton, linen has always been revered for its breathability, absorbency, and ability to soften over time. It's the super textile of the natural world."  I deconstruct these garments, cutting  them apart along seam lines to salvage large pieces of usable fabric along with add-ons like buttons and ties and pockets.  From these materials, I am making simple portfolios, a fold-over fabric envelope perfect for holding a small journal and a few pens, note cards, or other everyday need-to-haves. The design includes two contrasting fabrics (linen on the outside, soft colorful cotton on the inside) and a handmade strap for the closure.

handmade portfolios

For every passion, there is a project.  I always stop to admire the contents of the display case at our local library like a kid at the candy store window.  Once there were gorgeous textiles.  Another time the case was filled with mixed-media projects including a baby doll riding in a refurbished Electro-lux canister vacuum, created by my friend, Leslie Brier.  I can't begin to describe her creative artwork adequately - you have to see it for yourself.  These visual treats set my wheels to turning, and before I could say, "Whoa, Nellie," I was on the phone to my friend Candice Ransom.  Not only is she an accomplished writer, she is also my partner in crime.  We both have a deep and abiding love for old photographs - their stories, the frames, and the cameras that took them.  Between the two of us, we have a bushel basket of vintage cameras and related accessories.  We volunteered to decorate the display case at Salem Church library for the month of August, which came a little early this year, that would be today.

We laughed and shared our toys like two sisters on Christmas morning.  Every passerby stopped to ask questions about the cameras, reminisce about cameras owned by their own families, and many described their favorite photographs from their childhoods. With Brownie box, Polaroid Land, and Imperial Flash cameras, this display sparks conversation and hopefully, more picture-taking.  Let's make prints to hold, not just images on an LCD screen or computer monitor, but real pictures. Every moment has a story, and pictures help us remember and re-tell those stories.

vintage camera collage

Sitting at dinner tonight, my family laughingly joked about my next project.  Very matter-of-factly I stated that I want to teach my son, Jacob, to sew on a button before the summer is over.  I really think everyone should learn this handy task.  When I couldn't think of another upcoming project, I pronounced, "Well, I guess that's it, Jacob.  You'll have to be the whole project for the rest of the summer!"   More a clever teenager than a project, he retorted, "That must be a really big button!"  Seriously funny kid!

1 comment:

  1. You left out the part about eating Dunkin' Donuts before we put up the display, so we were properly stoked with sugar! Yes, it was fun and it's a gorgeous display. Your family photos made it personal and colorful. I think I may have forgotten how to sew on a button myself--give me a lesson along with Jacob!


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