Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Inspiration Wednesday - Meme from Weaver

So here I go with my challenge from The Weaver of Grass. Link:
Inspiration Wednesday

I have chosen a book called Country Rag Crafts by Sue Reeves. My mother was a wonderful seamstress and I have always loved the look and feel of colourful materials. However, apart from making clothes, I had never thought of the other exciting things I might do with them, especially all the bits left over after having made an item of clothing. I could never bring myself to throw them away.

From the sleeve: Sue Reeves is a successful craftswoman who has been selling, exhibiting and exporting her fabulous rag rugs, hangings and decorative wreaths fro many years. Sue lives and works in Devon and her home has been featured in Home and Gardens magazine.

I can't actually remember where I bought this book, but I was instantly attracted to it. It is full of wonderful ideas of how to use up all those little bits of material in many interesting ways. It was my first introduction to rag rugging. I took to this like a duck to water and have made quite a few now. Some of them are on my sidebar. I sourced extra material from jumble sales in the UK (I lived there at the time) and one of my favourite and most soothing occupations is cutting up these clothes, removing seams, buttons, any decorations for future use, then making them into little parcels of colour, bound with a piece of ribbon or a strip of the same material.

I made this rug by the 'proddy' method for my daughter and family. K loves autumn colours.

I made this as a wall hanging using the hooking method. You can see where my idea came from.

Another proddy rug, this time it was made for my granddaughter Kirsty.

This interest, inspired by Sue Reeves, then encouraged me to enrol in a college course in textiles at Worthing Community College. I had already tried a bit of weaving (also from the book) and took this further during the course, ending up making my now famous (in a small way) 'Raggy Bags'. Some of these are also on the side bar. I made one for my daughter and friends and family have seen it and now almost all of them own one too, all made in their own favourite colours. My end of year show was mostly a display of various woven bags I had made.

My inspiration for weaving with material. In my raggy bags I took it a step further, adding many recycled materials such as vegetable nets, tinsel, belts, bubble wrap, in fact anything long I could weave with. I love recycling things where I am able.

A Raggy Bag. The white diagonal strip was a piece of netting from around our Christmas tree. Sometimes I use wool and plait it first, as I do with material on occasions.

I never tire of Sue's book and often look to it for further inspiration. There are several ideas that I haven't tried yet, but I know I will in the future. Looking through it now, I can see 'my' work on her pages of woven articles. I have made Greetings Cards with fabric and my last year's Christmas Wreath was mostly fabric, another inspiration from the book. There is one chapter which shows 'Fabric Postcards and Pinboard' and I am itching to have a go at making these. (see photo below). When my new studio is finished, I shall have a ball.

Another chapter is on fabric jewellery, another idea I have yet to try. Plus papier mache and fabric bowls and plates.

As I mentioned, for my college show I made quite a few bags, all of them woven. One of them was my 'beach bag'. I lived by the sea and collected all the items for the bag from the beach. Even the handle was a piece of rope I found. These were all washed and sorted, bits of fishing thread untangled and pieces of driftwood were also incorporated. Here are some photos of it:

The front
The back.
A close up of the front with shells attached.

Another bag from my show. This one I called my 'carpet bag'. It was made using the hooked rug method but with very small 'loops'. The dangly bits at the bottom were the tassels from a scarf. I was very pleased with this. Below is a photo of the inside:

And this is the back:

I can honestly say that Sue Reeves's book changed my life. It has been and still is a constant inspiration to me. I thank you Sue.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

OH my Gosh!!! What gorgeous work. You are such a talented artist BT. Way beyond "Crafty". My head is still spinning from the sight of all of these wonderful works. They make my heart leap with joy and wonder. You are mightly blessed and so am I just knowing you.

Derrick said...

Hello BT,

Just visiting via Weaver. Great that this book inspired you to make such lovely creations.

Heather said...

Lovely rag rugs and gorgeous Raggy Bags. I love the beach bag Gina. I feel another rag rug coming on! You have inspired me.

Carol said...

I love sewing, embroidery and knitting but I've never tried weaving or ragging!! I must buy myself a book and have a go...I think it is something that I would love doing!!

I adore your beach bag!! I think it is absolutely stunning!! You should take commissions you know

C x

BT said...

Oh Lisa, I am humbled. Thank you so much. I just wish I could draw and paint. Don't we always want something else?

Good to see you Derrick and thanks.

Oh Heather, to have inspired you is something else, you are just one big bundle of talent!

Carol, thank you. It's not difficult! Get Sue's book, I'm sure Amazon would have a copy. She shows the techniques of weaving without a loom (just cardboard and wool or string). Also the rag rug methods. You won't be sorry.

I must say I was very pleased with the beach bag but it is very heavy and that's without anything in it! It also took weeks to do. The trouble with these sort of crafts is that to charge a realistic rate would make them too expensive. Plus I worry terribly when I'm making bags for 'clients'. lol.

willow said...

BT!! Hello!! I saw your comment over at Weaver's and had to pop over. Beautiful work. I'm very impressed. How have you been, bloggy friend?

acornmoon said...

Such lovely work here.

If I owned one of your rugs I would not let anybody stand on it except maybe a small child in stocking feet!

Teri C said...

You are an amazing woman! You really have the right name on your Blog! Gorgeous work.

jinksy said...

Bt- that was absolutely brilliant! The colours were a feast for the eyes, and you are an inspiration in yourself. :)

Eryl Shields said...

I am incredibly impressed by your skill. I have a book a bit like this one which I picked up years ago in a charity shop but I've never actually made anything out of it!

I am having such a good time following this meme and seeing the diversity of inspiration and the results that ensue.

Titus said...

Wow! But not only were you inspired by the book, look what you did with it! Really interesting to the very non-crafty me. Thanks, a sensual feast.

Jane Moxey said...

Your work is so fascinating and joyful. I have a huge library of quilting books which I've had for years. I still find myself delving into those books for inspiration or for reminders on techniques. Hooray for writers of crafting and art books!

Golden West said...

Love the texture and colors of your work!

The Weaver of Grass said...

BT - wonderful. I wonder if Sue Reeve knows how much she has changed your life. I think, reading your post, that your mother also inspired you to pick up a needle and have a go. If Sue Reeve is still alive (I don't know how old the book is) then I think you should send her a copy of your post via her publisher. Thank you so much for taking part

ian said...

We called them 'proggy' mats when I was a kid on Tyneside, but the ones I saw where pretty pale and washed out - probably because the fabric was...

Sara said...

It must be a REALLY good book to have inspired such BEAUTIFUL things!

Coastcard said...

Simply awesome! Greetings from Swansea.

Elizabeth said...

Isn't it thrilling to discover new , amazing projects to do.
This book looks wonderful and full of delights.
Greetings from New York!

Arija said...

Such a lovely book to be inspired by.I used to sew for the whole family and designed all my dresses as well as my daughter's. My rag-bag was legendary and led to quilts and trims for other garments. Lovely post.

Stampmaiden said...

Oh BT, you are truly the "CRAFTY Gardener!" I loved looking at all your art works. Great stuff! What a great way to recycle and reuse. I love the colors, the textures and the individuality of each piece.

Jason said...

I agree with Weaver of Grass, you should forward a copy.

Good idea for your response.


soulbrush said...

this is totally incredible gina. now i know so much more about you and i am in awe of your work, of your talent and of your commitment. the bags are astounding. wow, and wow again. what a wonderful path you are on.

BT said...

Hi Willow, lovely to see you and thanks. I have emailed you.

LOL, thank you acornmoon.

Thank you so much Teri. xxxxx

Oh Jinksy, thank you thank you. xxx

Hello Eryl, it's been such fun, hasn't it? I still have some to read. So glad you liked my work.

Lovely to meet you Titus, great blog name. Glad you appreciated the weaving as a non crafty person.

I'll second that Jane Moxey. I must come and visit your blog now. xx

Oh thank you Golden West.

Hello Weaver, what an enormous success this has been. Well done you. Yes, my mother certainly did have a big part in it. But I just made clothes then. I think it's such a good idea to contact Sue and I will do so.

Hello ian, they mostly used to be dark fabric, old coats so I'm surprised the ones you knew were light. Proggy could be a corruption of Proddy maybe?

BT said...

You are too kind Sara.

Thank you Coastcard.

Hello Elizabeth, Greetings from County Clare! It's still one of my favourites. Glad you enjoyed my 'stuff'.

Wow Arija. I used to make clothes for my children and myself but my mother made anyone else's! (and mine when I was younger). Rag bags are a wonderful source of delight. Thanks for calling!

Thank you so much Linda. I have tons more!! I must make a blog of them I think.

Thank you Jason, I will.

Soulbrush, you are far too kind but I thank you for the compliment and am so happy that you feel that way about my things. I am smiling lots!! You too have talent a plenty! xxxx

DK Leather said...

~warm smile~ lovely to see Kirsty & Lina's things, and all the raggy bags I love (and we all have!).

Great post!

Penny said...

Thank you for looking at my blog, I love yours and the colours are tremendous. One of the things I have yet to try rag rugging!!
I need a few more life times to get done all I want to do. I will come back and browse more when I have time.
I have a blog give away on my back valley seasons blog if you are interested.

Pondside said...

Your bags and rugs are gorgeous. I love books and love the idea of a talent such as yours being sparked by a book.

Heckety said...

Just been catching up on all your news! Your butterflys are so pretty, I think you may have all of ours as its so windy here!They are lovely to watch. What fun your 'inchies' are , and the ATCs you showed are great too, I think the 'I' for India uses beautiful deep colours, I'd like to make a quilt with those colours.
Re. Buster's ears? On windy days the girls take our dogs out for especially long walks just to laugh at their blowy ears!I've never seen gladioli that blu colour, I'll have to find some bulbs for Mum as she clooects them, its too windy here for tall plants like them.
And as for your weaving! It's wonderful! The colours and textures!Bags and rugs, and all that recycling;heaps and heaps of 'brownie' and artistic points!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely book and your creations are just so unique. I love seeing all the different projects you have made and the unique changes that make them all yours!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh my goodness - what delightful artworks! And what an inspiration this book has been to you. There's such creative energy in your work and joie de vivre! Giraffitude!

Thank you for your lovely comment on my Inspiration post.

Anonymous said...

hallo,its sue reeves here.delighted to read your review of my book and see your lovely work. Sue.

BT said...

Wow, the lady herself. I meant to contact you and let you know that you have been my original inspiration but never got round to it. I'm thrilled you found my review and now know what a wonderful effect your book has had on my life. It's never far from me - I can see it on the bookshelf now!

Best wishes,