Thursday, September 22, 2016

What goes into handmade?

by Staci Louise Smith

I never get tired of watching how things are made.  It doesn't matter what it is, if someone is making it, or painting it, or carving it, or building it, I can not take my eyes off it.

I think when you are a maker yourself, and you have a process you know, it gives you a respect for the process others go through.

For those of us who do shows, I know that we often wish we could share that passion and knowledge of what goes into handmade with our customers.  It is often literally blood, sweat, tears and heart.  so I am going to share this process.................

I have been on a new journey of making lino-cut print bags and totes to sell in addition to my jewelry.  It has given me that outlet for some creativity that is not jewelry related, that I very much needed- and I also think it will reach a wider audience then my jewelry alone does (cause its weird, and not everyone's cup of tea).  




What started out as simple dyed bags with lino-cut prints on them (above), has evolved already (because I just do not do simple very well!!!).  So, as I went through the process of this new medium, I decided to document it in pictures to share with everyone.  I hope you enjoy watching the process!!

I buy fair trade bags- wash them and hang them to dry.  Then, I tye some up to add some variation in the dye.

Then I dye them, which entails, mixing the dyes, and other chemicals in the correct quantities for the correct amount of time, and then rinsing, and rinsing, and rinsing and rinsing them.  Then washing them and hanging them to dry.

Each time I do a batch I end up carving some new stamps.  This time a added a sugar skull and an elephant too.


Since I got a new style bag that has a flap, I decided to sew some patch style layers onto it, since I could.  So I went nuts at Joann's fat quarter sale.  Batik fabrics have my heart.

I also decided to do the layers on some of the other bags, and bought this heat and bond to be able to do that.

Then all the fabrics get washed and hung to dry

Next I begin to cut squares of the solid colors to stamp on



Then I stamp, and I stamp, and I stamp...................


I work in my unfinished basement, so pardon the gross background and odd things I use to hang and store my wares on....lol

Once the fabrics are stamped and dry overnight, I stack them by design, and the fun begins.

I GET TO DESIGN THE BAGS!!!!





I had so much fun doing this part!

After that, the flap bags get sewed on, and the others get trimmed, ironed onto the backing, trimmed again, then ironed on to the bag.  Then some extra ironing to heat set the printing ink.

and VOILA!  I love them.  

 These are the sewn bags with the flaps


These are the first two iron on's.

Tonight I have to put the rest together, iron and sewing.  Tomorrow they all get a little winged heart stamp on the back as a signature.  Then that gets heat set with an iron too.

Then they get tagged and priced and hopefully find some new homes over the weekend.  So much work goes into each bag, but I really love the outcome.

I hope you enjoyed the process, I know I am.  It always feel good to be able to do something new.  It revives the creativity that sometimes falls asleep on the job!

2 comments:

Cindy Pack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anvil Artifacts said...

Fabulous!

face
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