Thursday, September 29, 2011

Made by Hand

 After seeing all the cool vintage stuff at the recent art shows/flea markets (Junk Market under Glass and Junk Bonanza), I was inspired.  Not to shop, and not to dumpster-dive.  Just to create something by hand.

The found and gathered materials: old army coveralls, bought en masse by my husband years ago.  Burlap. Vintage table runners, some with hand-crocheted lace. Doilies, which I've always avoided buying since I don't want to mix them in with the ones from my Grandma. Belts.
Except for the jumpers and the new burlap, everything here came from thrift stores.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I saw plenty of lace and lots of canvas at the shows. But I'm not really a lace purse kind of girl, and the canvas bags were too spendy for me.
These kind of hit the sweet spot.

This pocket, cut whole from the coverall, even has ready-made compartments for my cell phone and a pen.  Somebody else's Grandma made the doily. And the pin is a little treasure.
The reverse side of the bag shown above, next to a tiny hand-appliqued purse.

The table runner on the bag (below) is made out of what appears to be burlap thread.  I couldn't bear to cut up somebody's handiwork, so the dimensions of the bag were determined by the length of the runner.  Most of the linens I use are damaged, but this one was perfect.

I made just one bag with short handles.  These were braided from strips of army canvas and top-stitched to the bag on the outside, because I like texture.
I wondered, when I was at the "junk" shows, why they energized me so much.  Part of the reason had to do with being around creative people.  But there was more to it than that.  The rescued, restored, re-imagined goods were almost all made, originally, in America.  Can you read the fine print on the tag in the above photo?  It's a reflection of our consumer culture.  The label might be a status symbol, but all I see is mass-production.
 Which is why anything I own with the touch of the artist, whether an old Peruvian pot or a European pillow sham or a redesigned piece by my jeweler friend, is of great worth. The objects are hard to find, and often impossible to replicate. They remind me that we are all made in the image of the One who loves us, and whose creativity imbues all the world with the spark of the holy.
(The bags featured in this post are available at Les Junc, Zimmerman, Minn., open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stenciled Burlap Pillows

(Updated March 2013)

For unknown reasons, all my photos from this post disappeared.
I took these photos to show potential customers
what the stenciled pillows in my house look like.

I don't have any numbers besides the "4" and "6,"
but I can hand-cut letters to order.

I'm on the hunt for "5" and "7."

Still love how these look, though.

Update, 2014: I discovered that these shredded quite a bit when I washed them. I had to restitch all the patches. Once they were repaired, they looked great. Not as new as in these pictures, but appropriately worn, the way I think things should look. I gave them to my little sister, since she now has four children. And I, surprise!, have five! And no "5" stencil can be found, more's the pity.

Found Treasure: some of my favorite things from Junk Market under Glass, Long Lake, Minnesota, September 2011

A box, a can, some metal and architectural pieces. 

I worked at Gretchen's booth (Mimi-Toria's) at Junk Market under Glass in Long Lake.  The pieces in this picture sold right away.  She uses vintage elements to create wearable art. 

A stenciled pillow from J. Hill designs.

This was my
favorite furniture booth at both of the recent shows.  Histories (Lee and Tracie from Wisconsin) rebuild old farm and industrial objects.  The lamps look like something out of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  They make me happy.

Caractacus Potts strikes again. (lamp by Lee and Tracie Anderson,

A stunning example of junk-turned-art.  These old gears are hauled out of obscurity, polished and mounted, and displayed as sculpture.  (pieces by

My sole purchase at the show.  You could call it my "soul purchase."  I've been looking for this book the last 20 years.  I doubt I can get my college-age sons to sit on the sofa with me and listen to these poems......but now I have the book, so I can borrow some little nieces and nephews.  They will love poetry, they will, they will.

A gift for my friends: a poem for summer's end. (by Robert Louis Stevenson)