Sunday, 19 February 2017

Waxed cotton tote

Here's a bag I've been meaning to make for a long time (two years?) - a tote bag in waxed cotton, with leather handles:


I bought the waxed cotton so long ago I can't remember where it was from (!) but I think it's pretty easy to find these days.  The leather I bought as one long, inch-wide strip (from eBay I think), and the rivets are sturdy screw-threaded ones.


I made this bag wide enough, and with box corners, so that I can fit a pair of flat shoes in the bottom.  In January I did a lot of travelling for work, using trains and taxis to get to client meetings, and found myself changing my shoes a lot.   For the Underground I needed my sensible flat mary-janes, but they're too scruffy to wear straight into 'proper' meetings - so I would stop in reception and stuff them in my bag, swapping for smart heels!  Then in the taxi back to the station I'd change back into the comfy shoes!


Inside this bag I tried hard to stick to a plain lining, but a tiny piece of spotted cotton sneaked in. The rest is Kona sage and kale.
Each strap end is attached with two rivets, which have to also pass through a second piece of leather due to their length.  This also makes the attachment stronger, since it's very unlikely that the rivet head will pull through the leather from either side - leather doesn't "give" much, whereas fabric does.  I had to make holes in the leather with a variety of large needles and scissor blades, as I didn't have a leather punch at the time.  I do now, and it's a lot easier! Buy one.


It's hard to see in this photo, but I also put a small ticket-size pocket on the outside of the bag.  This is to save scrabbling in pockets etc when you quickly need your train or bus ticket.  I've already used this bag loads, it's my current favourite!


Vicky xx

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Painting on glass

It's called Frosterley Bazaar for a reason - and the reason is, I can't just do one thing!  Last year I began experimenting with painting on glass, firing it in a kiln at 600 degrees C and incorporating it in miniature leaded windows.  Previously, I've made stained glass with 'normal' coloured glass, but this technique brings a whole new level of detail and possibility!

One of my first experiments was a shoal of fish rushing through their underwater world, some emerging from the dark depths, some silhouetted against the light.



The process involved in this is to paint (or 'matt') the glass completely with black paint, and then using nothing more complicated than a pointy stick, to scratch the design through the paint.  It's very like using a scraperboard - mistakes can't be undone, they have to be incorporated (so, COMMIT!) and you have to start thinking in black and white, not shades of grey.


Inspired, some 20 years after the fact, by my marine biology degree, these pieces were put together into this window for a friend which incorporates a favourite headland:


I'm still sewing and knitting (and crocheting a new mad teacosy), but glass is going to predominate in 2017! I hope you like glass!  Happy new year!

Vicky xx
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