It’s taken me this week to get re-organized after the inspiring, creative, Makerie retreat last week. I am just so thankful that I was invited to teach & was included in the round-up of the most talented & wonderful teachers. I feel like I spent most of the weekend with a smile on my face & laughing out loud. On the last evening there was a book making party where we could compile our own book that was put together in a very speedy 2 day class, “Crafting Content” with Janine Vangool of Uppercase Magazine. What a special souvenir to go home with.
The class I taught, “Modern Leather Accessories” was so much fun & the students caught on to the techniques immediately & went on their way to create lots of very fun wearable art & summer jewelry. Everyone got to learn the basics of leather work & then was able to apply their own special touches to make the pieces uniquely theirs.
The nights were always a great chance to catch up with others over a delicious dinner in the newly renovated Chautaugua Dining Hall. Saturday night the whole place was decorated with beautiful paper flower centerpieces & bright washi tape all around. The sponser of the evening was Creativebug, a very cool craft video website from Sanfrancisco, who were in town filming pieces from the Makerie weekend.
To be surrounded by the beauty of the mountains & the creative energy of all that attended surely made it a most successful weekend. Great job to Ali Dejohn & Emily Clark who pulled the whole thing off without a hitch & make it look so effortless. That in itself is a true talent. Below is a recap of the teachers & classes that were offered. All the photos were taken from the Makerie Book. Who could ask for anything more?
Happy Spring! Please come join Ali’s Summer Makerie series for your own magical day!
Oh, I can’t tell you how happy I am to get this giant, oversized bag made. It will be perfect to carry my tools & samples when I need to haul them around town. I made it just in time for a visit to our local Fairview High school tomorrow where I will talk to the student government about my small business. I already have it packed with repurposed samples and a couple tools so I can do a quick demo.
The bag was made from a really big, very old canvas carrying type, tarp. It had 3 leather handles attached on either side with old 3″ cotton webbing supporting the bottom. I don’t really know what it was used for so if anyone has any ideas, please do share. The canvas it self is a bit dingy even after 2 washes & I did have to cut off the webbing as it was falling apart. The handles weren’t in the best shape either so I kept the bottom part & reattached a new leather belting to the back side for strength. The thing I do love about all these old samples is the character that comes with them. The original rivets are fantastic & I can never resist an awesome selvage line. To clean it up a bit, I lined the bag in a subtle striped linen that has a bright pop drawstring closure. I also added 4 interior pockets on either side for organizing tools. After painting the stripe, adding the number “4″ & reinforcing the bottom with heavy white suede (very tool-baggish) I’m ready to go.
I got out my blue dyes & started staining natural veg leather. The next step was to start playing with the color & see what pattern could be made without it looking too sloppy. I went for dots. I love the outcome & the unevenness of the dye. I also like the splatter effect. These 2 small purses was all I did with this technique- I’m ready to play some more!
Although it’s basically the middle of winter, I seem to have gotten spring fever. It could be due to the amazingly warm, un-winter-like weather we’ve been having here in Boulder. I can’t seem to get enough of the natural & white combination on the leather which feels like a warm vacation all wrapped up in a bag. A simple stripe can make quite an impact! I generally like to keep my bags fairly simple but I can never resist that small pop of color whether it’s in a small embroidery, paint or appliqué . The overall effect is screaming summer! That’s what I’m thinking about as I look outside right now & the flurries are falling to the ground…. winter is back.
I made this a while ago for my husband. He is a really great cook & was just ruining his shirts so I thought this would be a practical but fun gift. I took a 4 pack of IKEA dish towels & just sewed them together to create the base than cut out the shape of the apron. The straps are linen & all the patches & embroideries were made by hand & then sewn on. I made my own stencils out of plastic sheets. This really is a one of a kind apron made especially for him. I must have had a lot of patience back then as I’m not sure I’d have the time any more to create such a detailed piece.
I really like the combination of these two fabrics. They really have such different textures but compliment each other so well. This was the start of the cross body bag which I have expanded on for the fall season. The waxed cotton part of the bag is actually 4 functional pockets. Two in the front & 2 in the back for extra storage.
This past weekend I visited the kidrobot store that recently opened just 2 convenient blocks away. They happened to have just had a big event where artists came to paint these little plastic statues. My son was amazed by the possibilities. Who knew you could do more than just color them with a marker & call it a day? We were told that if you add some modeling clay (the kind that hardens like plastic in the oven) you can go to the next level by creating your own characters. Well, who could resist that? So, we bought enough for my sons & myself & spent Sunday afternoon sculpting & painting. Fun you ask? Most definitely! I liked that it was a project that attracted boys that are close to 11 & 13 years old. That’s not so easy any more.
I thought a cold, gray & snowy Friday (here in Colorado) needed something light & colorful. These clutches were made from vintage camping tents. By adding a bright stripe & the signature leather, painted tip leather tab, they became unique & one of a kind little bags. I’m knee deep into leather, wool & military fabrics at the moment & a hint of these summer colors feels so good. I have all winter to dream of tents & how I’ll reuse them in the spring again.
Have a great weekend! I’m off to a big costume party tonight & can’t wait to wear my new hand painted leather fox mask that I ordered on etsy. there will be pictures posted next week- I’m channeling the fantastic Mrs. Fox.
The construction of a clutch isn’t very complicated (especially the way I make them). Simple shapes need fabulous small details to make them special. For this brown leather clutch, I added a leather horse bridle tab that is attached with an antique mother of pearl shirt stud. By adding 2 simple gold stripes down the center, the whole bag becomes a unique, one of a kind handbag.
Over the past year & a half I have been dabbling with bracelets. Sometimes it’s just for fun & at other times I feel like a bracelet factory. I tend toward using leather pieces that are floating around my office. I like the old, broken in straps with lots of character. I also like breaking in the leather myself though & so I can see the transformation happening on my wrist. My latest love is a 2″ wide natural leather braided cuff that started out a very light, light tan color & now, after 2 months of wear is a beautiful caramel color with a broken in sheen.
I recycle horse bridles, old belts & random vintage accessories. I paint, punch holes, embroider, sew & wrap. I like that it is a project I can typically finish in 1 sitting & can wear out in the evening. I like to take big pieces of thick natural leather & dye, cut, wash & oil them. You never get the same results twice. Each bracelet is unique with it’s own character. Occasionally, someone will say,”I want one just like the one you’re wearing.” I wish I could fulfill that wish but then I would have to take it off my wrist & give it to them (which I have done happily.)
Today I’ll spend my time playing with tools, leather & trinkets in hopes of creating a fabulous new bracelet.
I love my job…..