Denim – What Can I Make of This?

I have a lot of hoarded art supplies – things I’ve gathered thinking, “I can make something of this,” but I don’t.  I just squirrel it away and know that it’s there taking up space.  Last year was particularly bad because I was doing a lot of “nature” and “recycle” crafting for a fair so I started saving cans, cereal boxes, jam jars… This year’s thinking: “Use it or lose it.”  If I really NEED to craft with a can there are plenty of cans where these came from.  I should make a trip to the recycle bins.  Imagine the space that will open up.  Room to play.

I’ve been looking at my pile of denim and thinking, “what can I make of this?” I google for ideas… wow, is there ever a lot of repetition out there! Googling “Denim Art” is a bit richer experience, bit it wasn’t really what I was looking for. I want to make a thing – an object you can touch and feel and explore with your hands.

Turning old jeans into new craft projects.  Function and wearable denim crafts as well as just art pieces.  Stitching denim by hand is easy and relaxing.  Denim is a combination of sculptural material and fabric.  It’s very flexible and forgiving.

So far I’ve made:

• a couple purses
One is made from a pair of back pockets.  It’s very “bohemian” – whatever that is.  It’s a lovely functional art piece.  The other is made from front pockets.  I gave it a square bottom and used the fly from another pair of jeans as the closure.  It’s a work in progress.  I think I want to make a wallet and change purse too.

• a journal / sketchbook
Love this one.  I filled it with “signatures” – little booklets of paper you put together to make a book full of paper.  Some of that paper was from a sketchbook, a lot came from an old artsy, store-bough journal a friend had passed down which sat on my bookshelf for 15 years.  Cutting it up and using it feels good.

• a few roses
At first I thought, “what a cheesy, typical, girly, blegh craft”.  But then I made one.  Oh – pretty.  This can be an embellishment, or a broach… Tried a couple approaches to denim roses. It’s a good way to use up those trimmings.

• a couple of canisters
Smaller canisters – one was hot chocolate, the other peanuts.  I thought there was a lot you could craft with recycled canisters (cans / jars), but as it turns out it’s usually still just a canister.  All you can really do is decorate it.

• a crow
I’m not entirely in love with it.  I was going for raggedy and, well, it’s a crow.  I think I’ll keep it around and work on it from time to time – build it some proper wings, embellish it with stitches and beads… I dunno.  Maybe it will grow on me as it evolves.

• a rhino keychain
I gave it to a friend who doesn’t handle needles well but has to do them anyway.  A totem of strength and a symbol of friendship.

• a medicine bag
I really did want a medicine bag, a little sac for around my neck in which I could keep my medicine safe accessible for me.  It’s so cute!  I see many more of these as gifts this year.

• a pair of wings
I keep wanting to do Christmas ornaments, something small I can craft when I don’t want to invest a lot of time.  Again with the uninspired Googling – You can make a tree, a stocking, a bird, a star, a heart… snooze.  The idea of wings came to me because of crows, and Paul recently watched “Castaway”, and I have some angel wing embellishments in my craft stuff… Work in progress but so far they are gorgeous.  I covered them with a white sparkly mesh and there’s some repurposed lace trim.  They need ribbon, crystals and pearl beads.  Yeah, not a quick project with every detail being hand stitched.  It’s about the process.  They are helping me with ideas too.  What else can I make for my Christmas tree?  Anything I please!

What kind of things symbolize me?  Cat, Goat, Clover, Mask, Feather, Dragon, Bra, Book, Doctor… Huh.  Friend Dolls (not the voodoo variety).  I like that idea!