This is a fun craft to use up fabric scraps or recycle old clothes. T-shirts cut into strips work well. I made these two small baskets above and went on to make some larger ones with stripes. The frayed edges of soft flannel were interesting while a stiffer fabric like denim looks good but takes hand strength to crochet.
This video shows two ways to recycle t-shirts into fabric yarn and the mechanics of crocheting a fabric basket / bowl. There are a number of videos and patterns online but the basic mechanics are the same: you make a circle and crochet upward in a spiral to become the walls of the container. This is easy and a good project for beginners, too.
This is the fastest, best way to learn animation and teach it to any age student. File this under Hack to School: I adapted a 3D stop motion animation app to make 2D hand-drawn cartoons using a tablet computer. A smartphone can also be used, but the smaller screen size will make the process more difficult. This method is easy, gets quick results and is fun. This is a great way to combine hand-made art for painting and drawing with digital skills. I found that kids came up with ideas and completed their drawings on a varying timeline so a whole classroom of students were able to share a single tablet and everyone made a cartoon. Enthusiastic go-getters made more than one cartoon.
This is fantastic because someone at retirement age took to an art form and moved forward with great skill and interest. I want to find the full documentary; the above CBS video short about the film covers the main details. I have never wanted to live in a cave more than when I saw this!
If you saw the documentary My Kid Could Paint That, you will see the same high art market insanity at work in the video short. The artist, Ra Paulette, created a large work for $12 an hour and the owner is now trying to fetch nearly a million dollars for it now that a documentary film about the artist is being released. I feel grateful Paulette seems so down to earth and does not appear to be caught up in the economic side of his work in a destructive way.
I am trying to get back to blogging and the usual arty things after a death in the family. My grandmother went from diagnosis to death in six weeks from cancer and my family is very sad. The day she died, I suddenly remembered video footage I had shot of a family dinner years ago; the only footage I have of my grandmother. I sat crying all day and pulled together a edit of the footage.
There are a lot of technical problems with how badly I shot the footage. I’ve learned a lot since having a video camera was a new thing, and now the only recorded video I have of her is precious no matter how poor the quality. I guess younger people, growing up in a digitally saturated environment, will have hours upon hours of video footage and recordings made of their lives by enthusiastic parents, their peers and themselves. If you have elders in your family, remember to make videos of them as well. This may be the only video footage anyone has recorded of my grandmother. Interview your elders,involve them in a video project, get your video camera or smartphone out and make recordings before illness and death come. Photographs are wonderful and valuable, yet video gives you the voice and movements of the person; video gives you a piece of time back from the person you lost.
This less than 2 minute video shows two ways that I used to make hand bound art books using recycled materials for free or cheap.
I made paper for the first art book by pulping the interior pages in a blender, adding some white PVA glue and blue acrylic paint with a dash of glitter. I did not have a proper paper mold screen and used the back of a silkscreen, which made very thick, lumpy paper that took a very long time to dry. If I make paper again, I am going to use a better paper mold that lets more water flow through the mesh.
I skipped making paper for the second book and used acrylics paints and ink with a brayer to change the existing pages. Rolling colors and monoprinting using a glass plate, gelatin or Gelli plate method worked well. I got a nice, thin and fairly even coat of paint on the book pages.
The supplies to get started with book binding are very simple:
- Heavy thread like carpet thread or button thread. Embroidery floss and thin ribbon are also fairly strong and come in many nice shades,
- A large needle to make stitches. I like a heavy needle like a large embroidery type.
- A basic paper awl. If your materials are thin enough, push pins or dressmaker t-pins work.
- Having a bone folder helps to make nice folded edges.
- A block of beeswax is nice; it coats the thread and makes it easier to pull, less likely to fray.
- A jar of YES! Paste Stickflat Glue lasts a long time. It thins with water and works well for all sorts of paper crafting.
- Two marble or granite floor tiles and waxed paper to press things to dry. I bought two 12 inch polished granite floor tiles from a home outlet store for $4 each. If you put some weight on top, it makes a cheap book press.
You could skip inks and acrylic paints and use materials as you find them to make totally recycled / zero cost books. If you are piercing slimmer materials, a cork board push pin works well to make holes. An awl or needle tool works better if you need to make holes in anything more than 1/8 inch thick. I had some wrinkled pages from the paints and adhesive I used, he nice thing about book binding is that you can get starting making things for under $ 10 – although under $20 gives you a better suite of tools.
Also, check out this great bookbinding channel: Sea Lemon. The tutorial videos are great and the creator has a pattern to make a book press using two wooden cutting boards. Jennifer at Sea Lemon has very clear instructions and the videos are great.
Upworthy.com put this video poem up which is done as a brilliant theater piece. It is wonderful and only four minutes.
Not-so-fun fact: A waiter’s minimum wage in America is $2.13 per hour plus tips. Waiters are three times more likely to fall under the poverty line than average workers, and women are three times more likely to be a waiter. They average $18,590 annually in income. Which ain’t much to live on. Which is why this waitress has something blunt and kind of hilarious to say.
DIY Network online has a video and instructions to build the art table above. The estimated cost of $100 – $250 for this project is not going to include the large gray paper flat file, which is expensive. I have seen someone armed with a group of long drawer pulls build one out of plywood. This would definitely be great for a studio. If I had any place to put something this big, I would be headed to the home improvement store right now!