Handmade Paper – Natural fibre & Recycled – My First Creative Love…

Long before I found the creative joy of freeform crochet, with all its colour & texture, I was papermaking; I guess you could say it was my first creative love. I became obsessed with Handmade Paper, both natural fibre and recycled & by 1984 my papermaking was in full swing, retailing unique paper products across Australia & conducting regular workshops. In 1994, I even participated in a group exhibition at the Queensland Museum with the Papermakers of Queensland.

In today’s world we tend to take paper for granted. However, papermaking has a long history &, paper itself, was revered in ancient times as a sacred item, which is understandable when you consider the laborious process that handmade paper requires.

My days were spent, harvesting the natural fibres from wherever I could find them: my own garden, neighbours’ gardens, the bush. These fibres had to be cooked & reduced to cellulose, which then had to be masticated into pulp, to be sheeted (couched), pressed & glazed (I did this on glass). I’d start with a backyard of fibre, only to end up with a handful of sheets. It didn’t take long before I began mixing recycled paper & fibre pulp together to increase volume, keeping recipes so I could reproduce these lovely papers.

It’s a wonderful tactile craft, one I throughly enjoyed & often hanker back to. However, due to unforeseen circumstances at the time I had to give up my workshop & move on to other things.

Should there be any interested papermakers or, would-be papermakers, reading this, I have posted my ‘Papermaking Workshop Summary Notes’ here

So… why am I, a Freeform Crocheter, going on about paper? Well… it just so happens, I just couldn’t (or unwilling to) let go of the many gorgeous papers I had made over the years, selling a few sheets here & there, but keeping my favourites stashed in air-tight containers in the corner of my present workshop…

It’s time… time to de-stash, & now, with my work computer ‘out of action’ for some time yet, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my time, … for those of you who love beautiful, handmade paper, it’s now for sale in my Etsy shop until stock runs out… with more listing to come as I get photos done.

 

Although a little sad to see the paper go, I know it will bring much pleasure to lovers of handmade paper; not to mention, creative opportunities for scrapbookers, collage & mixed media Artists, book binders, card makers…

Vintage Earrings inspire Freeform Crochet Bag….

Earlier this year (Feb 2017) I was contacted, through Etsy, by a lovely lady who asked me if I’d be willing to create a freeform handbag, incorporating her collection of vintage earrings. As a rule, I don’t usually take on many custom orders for freeform pieces, mainly because I rarely know which direction a project may go &, even if the customer points to a particular item as an example, no 2 pieces are ever the same. So it’s often difficult pleasing people who already have pre-conceived ideas… Basically, I don’t want to disappoint…

Nevertheless, I was intrigued when she sent me a photo of the earrings &, after discussing preferred colours & forms (her preference for florals & Autumn tones), handles style, basic bag shape & her assurances that I had free range to create whatever I thought best… I decided to give it a go…. & so it began….

The finished handbag turned out great. My customer was super happy with the result. I too, was very pleased & don’t know why, in the beginning, I was so hesitant.  Well, there you go, that’s the creative process.  Perhaps this little exercise will persuade you to have a search through your own collectables & see what inspirations you can find….

 

 

My re-purposed Freeform Crochet Coat…

Forest InspiredSo, continuing with my personal commitment to complete UFO’s & work on new projects that have been sitting on the back-burner for far too long, I took a good hard look at this Freeform Crochet Coat that I created in 2006 & is featured in my book ‘Freeform Crochet & Beyond.’

This piece has special meaning for me as the colours, textures & forms came alive for me in a forest reserve where I often visited for solace & inspiration. Having that said, & as much as I love it, I also know that it’s big, bulky & heavy, more over, not to everyone’s taste, & to sell it on the Net would cost a small fortune to ship…

It’s been in my mind to pull it apart & make other items, but… Oh my!…What a job that would be… so,… the idea was put in the ‘too hard basket’ time & time again… Then, this summer, an extremely hot one at that, so much so, that I found it difficult to move too far away from the air fans blowing at high speed, I decided that, seeing as I’m sitting here like a sweltering lump, I might as well be doing something useful… & so I began unravelling the freeform patches…. long story short… here are the items I came up with… I’m very happy.

Hood & scarf ComboDSCF1717Large Freeform ToteLarge Freeform ToteSmall Freeform bagSmall Freeform crochet bagFreeform Crochet Tcosy

The Alice Beanie Fest 2010

I’m a bit late posting this year – why is time whizzing by at such breakneck speed?

So…. it’s that time of year again when all the beanie nuts come out of the woodwork to show off their creations at the Alice Springs Beanie Festival & what a wonderful collection of talent there is to see again this year – take note of my cyber friend, Megan Jack’s entry… she receive a well deserved special mention for her amazing beanie ‘Under Ones Sun’ in the Loveliest Madcap Category – hopefully one day I’ll get to visit this fabulous Aussie event….

Here are my entries for 2010

‘Blue Mountains’ – A freeform Crochet snood – lots of bullions, spirals, tunisian patches & a scattering of beads to add some bling

‘Country Life’ – is an upcycled beanie made from an old woollen jumper that has been felted then cut & sewn into shape – corkscrew tassels added to the crown to finish

Amy – How A Felted Jumper Becomes A Handbag – E-book Tutorial

~ This E-book Tutorial (12 pages) is available as PDF downloads from this blog & on Ravelry, Etsy & Zibbet ~

Reclaim that old woollen jumper & turn it into a stylish handbag

It’s easy to become excited about this up-cycled, eco-friendly project & even easier to make. The tutorial takes you through the basics of washing machine felting, laying out pattern or template & embellishments – the step-by-step instructions are given in written form with clear photos & diagrams with some alternatives included

Requirements:

* Old woollen jumper

* Top-load washing machine

* Pure soap

* Template – 26 cm (10”) embroidery hoop or strong cardboard

* Sewing machine

* Crochet hooks of choice

* Eyelash yarn of choice

* Plain 8ply yarn of choice

* Sharp scissors

* Darning needle

* Sewing needle & strong cotton thread

* 2 buttons/beads