Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fabulous Bags and Earth Day

The first time I became aware of Earth Day was 22 years ago.  I was visiting my sister in Philly and everywhere we went there were signs for the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. So Earth Day was a topic of conversation for us as we explored the city together.

I've been trying to do my part to be environmentally friendly for over 35 years. In my class room I try to stay away from art supplies that are toxic. I don't wash leftover paint off the pallets. I let it dry and then peel it off and throw it away. Sometimes those pieces of dried acrylic paint end up in another art project thus staying out of the landfill. I don't use paper towels but washable rags for clean ups in the studio. There aer live plants in the studio to help keep the air a little cleaner too. I also frequent thrift stores for things we can use in class instead of always buying new. So many people discard so much stuff- unused paints, slightly used pastels, artists brushes, paper- the list goes on. Anyone who is an artist can tell you that supplies are expensive and when you are working with children they get consumed quickly. This thrift store mentality on my part has helped me stretch my art supply budget by quite a lot.

This of course has spilled into my art making as well. I am drawn to vintage jewelry and old glass and crystal beads. I will often pick up a vintage strand of beads, break it apart and incorporate them into a new necklaces using a mix of trend colors and sterling silver. Or I would buy an old wool sweater felt it and make mittens or slippers out of it. Storage was a problem in my first house so I used old suitcases to store seasonal items like Christmas decorations and then by stacking them would also have an end table by the sofa.  Little did I know that what I was doing was going to become a part of an art/lifestyle movement. I don't like calling what I do recycling- to me that means that you are taking something cutting it up, breaking it down and totally making something different out of the raw material- like soda bottles into jackets. What I do is re-purpose or alter an item. Give it a new purpose and extend it's life. So what does this have to do with Fabulous Bags? Well....

The Octagon contacted me last month about having a trunk show. They love my Fabulous Bags and thought a workshop plus trunk show would be great fun. I agree! So on June 25th I will be in Ames (one of my favorite destinations in Iowa) all day doing what I do best. Sharing my creative talent with people. When it says all materials provided they mean it. I have a confession to make here- I have about 75 vintage handbags stashed away at my house in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. These are all thrift store finds and aer in two very large tubs in the studio. What each bag has in common- besides being vintage and a thrift store find - they all stand up on their own. So the bag can be used as an actual handbag OR it can sit somewhere and make a statement. 

What's so great about a Fabulous bag? It still fits even if you gain 5lbs!