I’ve purchased premade tote bags of various sorts and imprinted on them for years, but I can’t always find consistent bags, or sizes I like, and I often can’t work out a design that I want. Last autumn I decided I was going to start making my own bags so that I could both be more consistent when I needed to be, and be more creative when I wanted to be.
When fabric transfers began working better with my heat press one of my first ideas was to make fabric “swatches” much as I did with my accessory bags to create the items I was visualizing. The accessory bags were the first good test of the process, and I was hooked!
I do have plenty of good old tote bags in mind, but I’ve also had other ideas in mind for shape, size, handle, closures, and rather than jump right into basic tote bags I decided to continue my experiments with fabric transfers and work out the other ideas I had in mind—braided handles, tassels, grommets, zipper closures, all sorts of detailing that made my designs, and each bag, unique.
It’s kind of breezy out there this morning and I had a difficult time getting good, clear photos of each bag, so here they are, ready for spring and summer, atop the leaves on my old, beloved picnic table.
And, like my accessory bags and cloth placemats they are printed on reclaimed fabrics from tablecloths, curtains, and any other clean, sturdy solid-colored fabric that won’t melt in the heat press. For instance, Market Flowers is printed on my most favorite old damask tablecloth, now too stained to ever use, but I can make use of the clean areas and give the fabric a new life. The damask pattern shows through just enough to almost give the flowers a little dimension.
It’s also lined with a printed tablecloth that has a pale pink flowery border. I can make use of my old printed textiles, and others I can collect, in the same way. So much is thrown away, and many fabrics are not ethically produced and have environmental impacts, so why not use something that’s already here? And although I know I’ll never use those tablecloths again I have a real attachment to them, so they get another life.
My kitties were rigorous in inspecting my work, between naps, of course. Supurrvising a human is hard work!
These three bags, the first time running through the designs including the braided handles, took me all of one day, yesterday. That’s the best way for me to work my way through new ideas, even when they aren’t all the same, getting into that problem-solver mode—isn’t that what creativity is, anyway, having an original idea and finding out how to make it a reality? And that works for many things aside from art and craft, like science and math and medicine and more. We have amazing brains.
And on to tomorrow, another creative day.
I began this year with a pledge to myself and my art: To be certain I won’t let ideas pass me by I’m setting myself up for a personal painting challenge in February, similar to the painting challenges I’ve participated in in past years. I aspire (but don’t expect) to create a painting or sketch every day in the month, to be posted on my blog each day.
This is my post from Day 22. See other paintings in this and other painting challenges on the page Creative Challenges.Other items with the same art or design To find all items on this site with the same art or design, use the search box for the name of the artwork and you'll find all that's available.
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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.