Make a recycled Appliquéd picnic blanket.

This project was originally in Coast magazine.

Those who live on the Coast are probably more aware than most, of the changing seasons. The skies are overcast and dark, the sea becomes rough and the sea gulls soar and wheel on the updrafts. With this image in mind I have designed an appliqued blanket. I have kept with the dark almost monochrome, but with suggestions of seasonal colours. The method of making is very easy and the end result has a Hygge Scandinavian feel.

Finished blanket

         I made this blanket out of two old woolen blankets purchased in a charity shop. They are easy to come by and often thin enough to use as a double thickness. If you don’t want to use old woolen blankets buy 160 cm woolen fabric that is 160cm wide. You will need two pieces in two different colours.

         If using old blankets, clean by washing on a wool wash. You can dye them, as I did one of ours, in a washing machine. We dyed it Jeans blue. The blanket must be made out of wool or another natural fiber for the dye to take. If you dye a blanket in the machine it will felt a little. Once the blankets are washed dyed and dry, then cut them so they are the same size as one another.

What you need

Tracing paper or baking parchment

Pencil

Dressmaking pins

Dressmaking scissors

Paper scissors

2 x woolen blankets or 2 pieces of 160 x 160cm woolen fabric

Dylon Jeans Blue machine dye (optional)

Tapestry yarn or an odd ball of wool (we used pale blue)

Tapestry needle

How to make

Step 1

Find some copyright free images of flying seagulls on the internet, scan to enlarge and print them out. Draw onto tracing paper and cut out using paper scissors. Or just copy the bird shapes shown here.

Pin the paper seagull onto the darker blanket. Being very careful to keep the shape, cut out the gull. You will need to repeat this with the other gulls depending on how many you want.

Pin the darker blanket on top of the lighter one. Round each edge, pin one blanket onto the other. Pin round the gull shape holes.  Using running stitch, sew round the edge of each gull.

Make sure the blankets haven’t stretched. If they have cut away any overlaps. Using blanket stitch, 1cm deep x 1cm wide, sew one blanket onto the other all the way round the edge.

Quick and easy chair transformation.

The made over chair in Annie Sloan Antibes green
The before shot looks quite nice, but believe me, the chair was not in a good state.

Recently a friend was throwing out a very old wooden child’s chair. It had been left in a shed for the last fifteen years and the seat was lifting up from the frame and the paint was peeling.

To restore the situation and to make a suitable chair for my grandson, first of all we tacked the seat back onto the frame. 

Always wear a mask when sanding

Then my grandson and I sanded the chair.

Next we painted it with Annie Sloan pure chalk white , and once it was dry we painted it with Annie Sloan Antibes green paint. To finish off and give it a smooth finish, we gave it a coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint wax clear.

A happy boy sitting on his new chair

Upgrade your dining chairs

I was lucky enough to find a couple of mid century modern dining chairs on ebay, but the covers were dull as ditchwater and needed replacing. I found a great upholstery fabric at https://www.craftysewer.com/ that gives more than a nod to mid century. I loved the colours on the underside of the fabric so I have used it reverse side up.

You will need

Screw driver

Fabric

Stapler

Scissors

Tape measure

Step 1

Unscrew the seat from the frame.

Step 2

Place seat on fabric, and cut out the fabric including a 4in overlap.

Step 3

Staple on the fabric at each of the 4 corners, as shown in the picture.

Step 4

Fold and turn the edge fabric over each side of the chair and staple into position. Screw the newly covered seat back onto the chair.

Installations made from recycled waste featured at Maison des Metallos during Paris Design Week

As part of Paris Design week the Maison des métallos held an exhibition of recycled art. The first exhibitor is Sophie Helene. She uses recycled plastic and netting to create her installations many of which are photographed in natural surroundings. The piece above is made from cartridge wrappings.

The work below is made from piecing together Tetrapac that have been opened up and flattened

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The work below is made from different coloured rubber gloves

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This hanging is made from the bases of drinks cans

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Dadave makes art works from recycled computer components.

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Woven plastic bag wall hanging

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In the week that we embraced environmental day,  I thought it would be a good idea to post a creative way of using up old Plastic bags. I purchased a simple frame loom from a thrift shop but the similar can be found at Hobby Craft or Tiger or you can make your own using a picture frame and some nails.  I displayed  the hanging from a broken branch I found in the garden.

Materials

Plastic bags in a variety of colours

Cotton warp thread or string

Fat twig or thin branch for hanging

Equipment

Loom

Weaving shuttle

Scissors

Tape measure

 

Step 1

Cut the bag into strips  0.5cm wide. Knot the strips together so you have one long strip.1 cut strips of plastic

Step 2

Thread the loom by tying on the thread at one side and then going backwards and forwards between the top end and the bottom end of the frame. It is important to maintain an even tension. Tie off the thread in the same way as you tied on the thread.2.thread loom

Step 3

So that the weaving doesn’t fall out when you finish you will need to make a twisted header. Cut a piece of warp thread about two and a half times the width of the warp. Twist the thread round each warp thread in turn. As in the image.

3Making a twisted header

Step 4

When you get to the end of the warp return in the opposite direction push the threads down and tie off at the end.

4Return in the opposite direction

Step5

Thread the plastic onto the shuttle and then starting in the middle of the warp take the shuttle under and over until you reach one end, then go back the other way.

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Step 6

As you work push down the weft to cover the warp. When you have made a stripe of one colour change to another.6push the woven pieces down to cover the warp

Step 7

To make tassels cut strips of plastic (blue)about 20cm long. Choose a middle section of the hanging and put the blue plastic behind two warp threads at the same time. Wrap one side round one thread and the other round the other , pull the threads through to the front of the hanging. Add as many of these as you like. Mine  was so bunchy that when I hung it up I gave it a bit of a trim.7constructing the tassels

Step 8/9

Weave another block of flat weaving. Repeat steps 3 and 4 to finish off.9Add another block of colour

Step 10

Pull the ends off the loom and then thread onto the branch. Cut off the warp threads from the other end of the loom and knot them one to the next one.

10Pull the ends of the yarn off the loom

Tip

Check that you are not creating a waist by pulling in the sides of the warp as you work.

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Make your own colour block dipped art

I love the dipped effect, so when I was trying to find an interesting way to give old paintings and portraits a modern twist, dipping them seemed like the perfect project, making pretty much anything look like expensive quirky art.

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What you will need:

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1. Remove the glass and picture from the frame. Take the frame and Rust-Oleum spray paint (we used Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold) and shake thoroughly. Hold the can approximately 30cm from the surface of the frame and spray. Apply several light coats a few minutes apart. Once fully dry, pop the painting back into the frame.

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2. Take a strip of masking tape and press the tape against some fabric to test that it isn’t too sticky (otherwise you may have trouble getting it off the photo without damaging it). Place the tape across the photo and frame and press down lightly.

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3. Using a sponge, dab the paint across the painting and the frame, building up the paint until the lower half of the painting and the frame is covered. Once fully dry, peel off the masking tape and hang!

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Meet the maker Martine Camillieri

Martine Camillieri is a French installation artist, author and teacher. Her own work takes precedence over all her other activities. It is based round waste and the fact we make, and own too much stuff.

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She lives with her Dutch husband in what was, at one time, their art gallery. It is a large industrial space with big windows metal beams and wide oak floorboards. It is built round a courtyard with a metal spiral staircase at its center. Everything is of an industrial scale.

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When I went to interview her she was creating some very stylish lamps. Asked about them, she said they are made from very tacky old lamps that are taken apart and the components reassembled with other items such as bamboo steamers. The lamps are all ‘one offs’

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Did you go to art school and if so what did you study?

Yes I went to the decorative arts school in Nice and studied advertising. I was top of my year.

What did you do after art school?

I worked in advertising for twenty years but I always wanted to be an artist.

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What made you change direction ?

In the year 2000 I was 50. I wanted a life change. I left advertising and set up the gallery with my husband. We were victims of its success. It took over our lives so that neither of us had enough time to practice our own work.

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My husband works with wood, creating bespoke pieces. Eventually we closed the gallery and I worked full time on what is my life’s passion. To stop waste and to stop filling the planet with objects.

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 Describe your work

 

My work is created out of found objects, rubbish,the flotsam and jetsam of everyday living. I hate waste of any kind. I take the tacky and put it with other items to make it pleasing. I use what is there and I do not change the final destination of the item. For example if I am using a bucket, in an installation, I will not put a hole in it. If I do that it can no longer be used as a bucket.

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Eiffel Towers created from waste

I make installations that are exhibited all over the world. I had work in Expo 2004 and at Creative Lab in Milan. My work has been exhibited in shop windows such as Bon Marche.

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Lamp made from discarded bits and pieces

 

Tell me about your books

I have had over fifteen books published. I do all the work on them from original concept, photography, art direction lay out and typography. My first book was on making tables from ephemera. It was a huge success and so I wrote more books based round the same topic of not wasting and re-using resources.

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You also produce children’s books

Yes I take toys from childhood and mix and match them give them a new life. I have written and created a series of traditional fairy tales using found objects and old toys to make the pictures.ready to shoot 1

 

Do you run workshops?

I work with children in schools. I will work with a class for a whole year. One of the projects we are currently working on is taking the waste from vegetables. For example we grow the tops cut off carrots and create something new. For example the fronds from the carrot may become trees in a forest scene. We also use grow from pips and seeds.

 

Who or what inspires you?

I am militant about a no waste agenda and that we should stop filling the planet with objects. My motto : Do not waste, do not throw away, give new life to things and stop producing.

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What advice would you give to a designer or artist starting out today?

Make things. Don’t worry if you are copied. Just keep doing. If you are copied it doesn’t matter as if you are truly original you will come up with more and new ideas.

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You have written a book called ‘Never without my Van’ which is about Frugal traveling. Tell me about it.

Each year  we  leave France in September and travel in our van for about two months around various European countries. We have a particular fondness for Greek islands.

We live very frugally and simply, in a van we converted ourselves. The book gives inventive ideas of how to transform a van to live in as simply as possible. We eat food we find growing by the roadside and attempt to have as small a carbon footprint as is possible.

What are you working on next?

I have been asked to do a 3D project based on my children’s books. They are going to be a TV program and I am art directing it.

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