New Necktie Upcycling Class!

Hot off the press — a new online class, Upcycling Neckties Into Bracelets, first in my series of downloadable tutorials on upcycling at CraftArtEdu.

craftartedu-dt-upcycle-necktie-bracelet-class-small

Create gorgeous bracelets from neckties! All you need to upcycle the swoon-worthy silky fabric of an unused tie into a unique bracelet is needle and thread, scissors, and a button, velcro or snap.

Upcycling Neckties Into Bracelets

My 30-plus page tutorial takes you step-by-step through the entire process, with 60 full-color closeup photos showing you exactly what to do.

Upcycling Neckties Into Bracelets

Learn how to size and sew the bracelet (no advanced skills or tools needed), plan ahead to maximize use of the rest of the tie, choose which of 4 closure options works best for your bracelet … and much more.

Upcycling Neckties Into Bracelets

With many extra tips — about the care and treatment of ties, using a sewing machine if you have one — and more. I even give you leads on where to find ties to upcycle — no stealing your husband’s faves!Upcycle Neckties Into Bracelets

Warning – you’ll quickly become addicted to making these bracelets!

Upcycling Neckties Into Bracelets
But after you run out of space on both arms to wear your favorites, start making more for friends and family, they’ll love your handmade gifts!

Click here for my CraftArtEdu main page.

Here are links to my other CraftArtEdu classes, each with its own free preview:

Taking Great Photos of Your Artwork & Crafts

Taking Great Photos With Your Smartphone

Decorating Wood With Image Transfers

Fabulous Fabric Postcards

Handmade Pet Collars

Inkjet Printing on Fabric

Inkjet Printing on Lutradur

And my free basic classes:

Inkjet Inks: What You Need to Know for Your Artwork and Crafts

Introduction to Lutradur

 

 

 

Arts Day Highlights

Celebrating local arts and artists, El Cerritans and neighbors enjoyed music, film, poetry, fine arts, hands-on crafting and more at the 2015 Arts Day Festival sponsored by the El Cerrito Arts & Culture Commission (ACC).

Arts Day Festival

Calligrapher and artist Douglas Jones showed his paper sculpture “Barrett Bob,” which won the ACC ribbon at the El Cerrito Art Association annual art show.

Douglas Jones

String trio Florian Altvater on violin, Milda Martisius on viola, and Andrew Ritchie on cello, performers with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra, filled the antechamber with lovely classical music.

Arts Day Festival classical music

Outside, the Del Mars played rousing surf music for an enthusiastic crowd.

Del Mars surf music

We even had food art in the form of delicious and beautiful cupcakes by local gourmet cake and cupcake bakery Encorecake.

Encorecake local gourmet cake and cupcake bakery

WhipOut! Food Truck , a favorite at El Cerrito’s Off The Grid on Wednesday evenings, fed the hungry artists and audience.

Whipout! food truck at Arts Day

Chalk artists drew masterpieces on the sidewalk in front of City Hall.

Arts Day sidewalk chalk art

ACC member Deb Danziger delivered an artist’s talk about her current exhibit in the City Hall Gallery Space, “Beyond & Below.” If you were wondering about the ACC’s banner (the first photo in this blog post), yes, Deb designed it!

Deb Danziger exhibit in Gallery Space

For a hands-on activity, we reprised the upcycling creative reuse booth that was so popular at the July 4th Festival. We filled three tables with materials I scavenged from the El Cerrito Recycling Center and tools to upcycle the old books, fabric and other discarded or well-loved but no longer useable ephemera into unique treasures.

Upcycling at Arts Day

With a bit of glue, crafty hocus-pocus, and unlimited imagination, discards were transformed into stickers, envelopes, postcards, magnets, bookmarks, and more!

Upcycling at Arts Day

ACC member Paul Fadelli, who was on the sub-committee that planned Arts Day, admired creations made by his daughter and her friend.

Arts Day upcycling crafts

For those who despair about the demise of books, I happily report that bookmarks were the most popular project by far.

Upcycling crafts at Arts Day

Community Development Director Melanie Mintz helped a young friend sew an old button onto her bookmark, while Melanie’s daughter (at left) and Pinole Artisan Nan Yarborough (at right) worked hard on their collages.

Arts Day upcycling crafts

A budding artist perused the offerings while her younger sister enjoyed a cupcake.

Upcycled art

Deb’s son gave her a bookmark-treasure as an early birthday gift.

Upcycling crafts at Arts Day Fetitival: Deg Danziger and son

Local actor George McRae, an early advocate for the creation of the Arts & Culture Commission, discussed orchids and cephalopods with Richmond artist/crafter/chef Paula Shiu.

Local actor George McRae and chef-artist Paula Shiu

El Cerrito poet and spoken word artist Kirk Lumpkin entranced with a variety of poems in styles ranging from rap to lyrical which touched on local and global environmental and social issues.
Poet Kirk Lumpkin at Arts Day

ACC member Christopher Sterba introduced Kirk. Chris, a lecturer in the San Francisco State University Humanities Department, is working hard to develop a Poet Laureate program sponsored by the ACC. Stay tuned!

ACC commissioner Christopher Sterba

I missed a lot of the action, including film shorts by Les Blank, puppet show by the Puppet Company of Children’s Fairylanda street photography workshop by Dale Mead, chamber music by the JCT Trio, and exhibits for El Cerrito’s Playland Not-At-The-Beach, The Arts & Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, the El Cerrito Historical Society, the Shadi Holiday Display Committee. and Contra Costa Civic Theatre. And throughout, the head of Arts Day planning sub-committee and ACC Chair Ruth Cazden eloquently introduced acts, performers and artists.

Thanks to my wonderful husband George for his help and this photo of me at the upcycling nook, still neat before the tornado of creativity descended.

Heidi Rand at Arts Day

Hope to see you next year!

 

Arts Day Festival in El Cerrito

Save the date! October is National Arts & Humanities Month, and to celebrate, the El Cerrito Arts & Culture Commission is sponsoring a free Arts Day Festival on Saturday October 17th from 1 pm to 5 pm at El Cerrito City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave. We’ve packed the day with a slew of fun indoor/outdoor activities for kids (of all ages) and adults.Arts Day 2015 poster

The final schedule is here!

“The Puppet Circus” shows at 2 pm & 4 pm;
Les Blank short films at 2 pm;
Poetry reading with Kirk Lumpkin at 4 pm;
Artist’s talk with Deb Danziger at 3:30 pm / “Beyond & Below” exhibit by Deb Danziger – all day;
Photography workshop with Dale Mead at 2:30 pm, repeated at 4 pm (bring your own camera or smartphone);
Popular light classical music (string trio) at 1:30 pm;
JCT Trio (chamber music) at 3 pm;
The Del Mars (surf music) – all day;
Up-cycling craft activity – all day;
Chalk art activity – all day;
El Cerrito Historical Society: History Room Open – all day

Who can resist a puppet show by the Puppet Company of Children’s Fairyland (2 to 2:30 pm & 4 to 4:30 pm), the chance to get down and make chalk art on the sidewalk, and croonin’ surf music by the Del Mars (1 to 1:30; 3:30 to 4; 4:30 to 5 pm).

And there’s more! Film shorts by Les Blank, a poetry reading by Kirk Lumpkin, street photography workshops, light classical music by string trio Florian Altvater,violin, Milda Martisius, viola, and  Andrew Ritchie, cello, and chamber music by the JCT Trio.

Painter, muralist and art teacher Deb Danziger will give an artist’s talk from 3:30 to 4 pm about her solo exhibition in the City Hall Gallery, entitled Beyond & Below.

Jellyfish in Eagle Nebula, Oil on Canvas, 36"x12", © Deb Danziger

Jellyfish in Eagle Nebula.  Oil on Canvas, 36″x 12″.  © Deb Danziger

Visit me all day at our creative reuse “Make ‘n Take” booth, where we’ll get crafty turning discarded or well-loved but no longer wanted fabric, books, ephemera and scads of other fun stuff into unique treasures. If you missed the ACC booth at the July 4th Festival, or if you came by and loved it, here’s another chance for you to make stickers, magnets, bookmarks, collage masterpieces, garlands, mail art, and much more. Also, free books while they last!

Creative ReUse crafting

Local arts and cultural groups with exhibits at the Festival will include El Cerrito’s Playland Not-At-The-Beach, The Arts & Culture Commission of Contra Costa County, the El Cerrito Historical Society, and the Shadi Holiday Display Committee.

All performances and activities are free, and there’s free parking across the street in the DMV lot. For sustenance while you’re enjoying the Festival, two excellent local companies will provide food for purchase. WhipOut! Food Truck has a great variety of American Food, and local gourmet bakery Encorecake will have their delicious cupcakes for snacking and dessert.

Want to get involved with or volunteer to help out at the Arts Day Festival? Or are you hosting an arts event, performance or exhibit in October in El Cerrito that you’d like to have included on the Arts Month web page? Other questions? Call Suzanne Iarla at 510-215-4318

Upcycling Arts and Crafts

A different kind of Fourth of July parade marched through the El Cerrito Arts & Culture Commission (ACC) booth at the City & worldOne Festival: fair-goers of all ages and types stepped into our booth and walked out with the wondrous artworks and crafts they created from the discarded fabric, sad old messed-up books, and donated ephemera I gathered at the El Cerrito Recycling Center Exchange Zone.

Creative ReUse crafting

Glue sticks swiped, scissors snipped, and our trusty li’l craft machine was busy laminating bookmarks and churning out magnets and stickers.

Creative ReUse crafting

Postcards, envelopes, stickers, magnets, bookmarks, and collage masterpieces transformed by endless imagination rose from what most people would label as junk. Creativity flowed.

Creative ReUse

Smiles and pride in making new treasures from old discards abounded.

Creative ReUse crafting

Some will be gifts.

Creative ReUse crafting

And some will be kept as treasures.

Creative ReUse crafting

Kathleen Glenn, the biggest booster of the arts in El Cerrito and owner of Glenn Custom Framing on Stockton Avenue, created a special bookmark.

Upcycled bookmark

Several generous people crafted postcards that the ACC will mail to Blue Star Moms, a group that puts the cards into care packages going to military service-members. These are some:

Upcycled postcards for Blue Star Moms

What materials are you using in your artwork and crafts that would otherwise go into landfill?
Click here to see last week’s blog post to advertise the event.

Creative ReUse Crafting on July 4th

Headed to the fantabulous City of El Cerrito & worldOne 4th of July Festival? You will not want to miss the El Cerrito Arts & Culture Commission booth on Pomona Avenue, where we’re gonna get seriously hands-on to make a slew of different mail art and other creative reuse projects. image

Using fabric, old discarded books, ephemera and other fun stuff I’ve gathered from the El Cerrito Recycling Center Exchange Zone, we’ll snip, tear, glue, tape, stamp, and collage to create stickers, magnets, bookmarks, collage masterpieces, and all sorts of unique mail art!

Upcycled map envelopes

I’ll show you how easy it is to make upcycled envelopes, postcards and greeting cards at home using old magazines, calendars, maps, fabric, etc.
Upcycled fabric postcard

You can make postcards to take home and keep, mail to a friend, or we’ll cover the postage to send them to Blue Star Moms, a group that puts the cards into care packages going to military service-members. We’ll also have the address so you can mail your postcards to sick children

Declare your independence from buying new art supplies – learn how to give new life to materials that would otherwise be sent to landfill or recycled! And beside saving you money, creative reuse is great for the environment!

BooksI hope to see you on the Fourth!

Upcycled Decorator Fabric Bowls

I love making useful things out of my artwork. When I started printing my own photos and designs onto fabric it opened up a universe of options to use the material — for scarves, sachets, pillows, and so much more! One of my favorite things to make with my fabric is bowls and vases.

Fabric bowl

If you’re clever enough to come up with your own patterns I’m envious, but I need some direction, and this C&T Publishing book was perfect: Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Vases by Linda Johansen. I also love her book Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric BowlsThat one’s out of print but C&T sells it as an ebook or you can find it used. These are two of the first vases I made using a pattern in Linda’s Vases book.

Fabric vases

When I scored a stash of amazingly beautiful fabric in decorator sample books at the Oakland Museum White Elephant sale I realized that the larger pieces would upcycle perfectly into bowls. If you’re in the Bay Area SCRAP-SF usually has a great supply of sample books at very reasonable prices. I’ve made three of the bowls so far from fabric I got out of one book. The fabric’s richly embossed and overstitched with divine floral patterns. I used a template for a 9 inch bowl with six leaves, the same one I used for the bowls in the first photo above. This is my current favorite, made from the gold-toned fabric.

Upcycled decorator fabric bowl

The red one is gorgeous too. Here’s the bottom. They’re easily reversible, all you have to do is push on the base and the bowls turn inside out.Upcycled fabric bowl red

The front of the red bowl.
Upcycled fabric bowl red

The easiest way to make these is to construct a sandwich with 2 pieces of fabric, good sides facing out, and slip between them a piece of thick stabilizer that’s fusible on both sides. Bond the sandwich by ironing to activate the adhesive. Place the template or pattern from Linda’s book on top, then mark around and cut. Depending on your template or pattern you may also have to mark the base.
Upcycled fabric bowl white

Sew up the bowl and you’re set! I double satin-stitch around each of the leaves and the base. Bowls are great gifts, perfect to hold keys and coins, dry food, beauty and bathroom items, at your bed side or on your vanity, etc.

Sorry,  I can’t find a link to show you the template I used for these because I bought it years ago, but click here if you want to see an example of one you can use to make a small basket.

Interested in upcycling?

This is my blog post about upcycling books into art.

In this one I talk about using upcycled fabric in an art hanging.

I show an envelope made from old paper in this post.

 

 

Upcycling Books into Art

How do you feel about altered book art? I know it’s controversial and discussions about the subject can become heated. I’ve been reading a lot of books about using books for art, and am interested to find that they all contain an explanation, with varying degrees of defensiveness, of the author’s philosophy.

My take is definitely colored by my nature as a lifelong book-lover. Growing up, the inevitable answer to my parents’ question, where’s Heidi? was “in her room, reading a book.” After early jobs in fast food joints, I started my “real” work-life in libraries after graduating with a degree in English Lit. My current law job involves constant reading, and now my answer to George’s question, where are you? is still pretty much the same.

So it probably makes sense that when I first found out about altered book art it made me squeamish. I understand other artists’ philosophies, but I still would not be comfortable tearing up, painting in, or cutting a book in good shape that someone else might want to read, for art or craft. My increasing interest in upcycling, defined by Wikipedia as “the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value” has helped clarify my personal stance.

In my recent blog post “Mail Art Pen Pal” I told you about upcycled envelopes I’ve been making. Here’s one from an old calendar of botanical drawings.

Upcycled handmade envelope

Out-of-date calendar pages are ideal for upcycling into collages and other mixed-media artwork, or to use as wrapping paper. And similarly, I’ll use books that other people would not want to read – those that are headed for landfill or downcycling because they’re unreadable, ripped and torn, scribbled in, or outdated but not historically significant.

Upcycled map envelopes

I made this set of envelopes from a 1990 Thomas Bros’ book of maps, not old enough to be valuable vintage ephemera and too old to be relied upon by the few people around who don’t use Google maps or have a smartphone or GPS!

I’ve been gathering books that fit my strict criteria at the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center, 8501 Schmidt Lane, El Cerrito. Along with an award-winning recycling program, the Center houses an “Exchange Zone,” where people donate and take home “reusable and gently-used materials.” There’s a big dumpster filled with newly-dropped off books to scrounge through, and many are also shelved in a vague sort of order by volunteers. If I’m not sure I’ll hold it up and ask George “would anyone use this?” He has the final word.

Books

We’re also very lucky to live near another wonderful resource, the Bay Area Free Book Exchange, where you can take any book for free (up to 100 a day!) and also donate books. According to the Exchange’s website, they currently have “approximately 10,000 free books in [the] store, and have given away 406,010 books since May 2009. All books on all of the shelves are free for the taking. If you are interested in donating books, you are welcome to drop off during our business hours, Saturday & Sunday 9am-6pm.”  The Book Exchange is at 10520 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito.

Since my artistic focus is using my photographs and the images I create from them in my artwork, I’m just very slowly starting to use books in my mixed-media pieces.

Le petit oiseau

I found some pages from an old ripped-up French/English piano music book for children. Leafing through it, this page for “Le petit oiseau / The Warbler” jumped out at me. I chose several of my bird photographs and arranged them on a blank canvas in Photoshop Elements the same size as the sheet music, which I cut down slightly so it would fit in my printer. It went through with no problem. Printing on untreated paper doesn’t look the same as on paper that’s treated for inkjet inks, so the colors are a bit muted and the resolution isn’t as sharp, but I like the effect on the aged paper and with the musical notes running through the images.

I love the idea of honoring old books that were once loved but are now tattered and torn, by using them in artwork. And re-using old paper saves a sheet of the new.

Interested in finding out more? These are two of the books I found at the San Francisco Public Library: Book Art : Creative Ideas to Transform Your Books– Decorations, Stationery, Display Scenes, and More, by Clare Youngs and Playing with Books : the Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book, by Jason Thompson.