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Posts tagged ‘handmade’

Zippered pouches

What have I been up to lately? Studying, and sewing! More study than sewing, as I’m at the complicated end of my design course now, and it’s eating up all my time. Never one to shy away from distraction and procrastination though, I’ve whipped up some new zippered pouches. I decided to make some for sale after making one for myself and realising how handy it is to contain all those small bits and pieces that usually go astray.

They’re made from 100% cotton & canvas, with a nice shiny metal zipper and a leather zip-pull. The fabric choice is inspired by the colours I soaked up on a couple of little holidays to alpine regions recently (before snow arrived to cover it all up) – greens, blues, browns and greys, I’m loving these muted tones at the moment. I plan to dig into my fabric stash and bring back some more lively prints soon…more to come!

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Sunprints!

Here comes the sun…and what better way to celebrate than with some experimental sunprints. A magic Sunprint kit arrived in the post as a belated birthday gift, and lately I’ve been testing it out. I love the imperfect nature of these prints, you’re never quite sure how your print will turn out.

This print is made with a snippet from an Australian native Bottlebrush tree growing in my backyard.

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Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how it works…

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1. Find a pretty specimen. Choose one that has interesting shapes for best results.

2. Find a sunny spot. The sun should ideally be overhead rather than at an angle, to avoid distorting the image with shadows. The kit comes with a sheet of acrylic to hold the object down, but you can also try a print without it…just wait for a very still day so nothing takes flight. Lay the object over the paper and watch as it lightens – it changes within minutes, so don’t walk away or get too engrossed in snapping pictures of it like I did in this shot.

3. Remove the object and this is how the print will look straight after sun exposure – quite pretty too, but it’ll soon change…

4. Just add water! Rinse in water (out of the sun to avoid further exposure) for a few minutes. It looks light blue at this point but then continues to darken and intensify as it dries.

5. Dry it flat in a dark place, and marvel at the results as it changes. When it’s almost completely dry, sandwich it between 2 heavy books for a while to flatten out any ripples from the drying process.

And voila! A beautiful print. I’m planning to frame a selection of them for my wall.

I wondered how you could apply this to craft projects, and discovered that there is indeed a light sensitive dye called “Inkodye” that you can paint on to fabric to achieve similar results. There’s also a ready-to-print cyanotype fabric available, which sounds like a much easier option. I’m very excited by this idea, and may just have to buy some! Below are some examples of cyanotype printed fabric, the results are quite striking.

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Pouches via Lumi Gallery, Pillows via Martha Stewart, Sunprint Napkins via Garden Therapy.

Handmade in PNG

I have a love and fascination for all things woven, so I was delighted when some dear colleagues gave me a parting gift of a beautiful handmade serving tray and bilum (tote), all the way from Papua New Guinea.

Bilums were traditionally woven with unique designs, using the rolled bark of the Tulip Tree. They are lightweight and seemingly delicate, yet surprisingly strong. Traditional plant fibre bilums are still made, but colourful designs using wool yarns have become increasingly popular.

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The serving tray takes pride of place on my sideboard.

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My bilum is far too precious to use for grocery shopping! I’d love to learn how to make one of these, maybe I’ll travel to PNG one day for lessons. Check out this great video of the whole process, from cutting and drying the fibres to weaving them all together. Beautiful!