Saturday, August 6, 2016

Canvas and Confessions

Confessions first.

I've been blogging for about, I don't know, three years now, give or take.  I had a gal configure my blog with features I thought would be good to have.

Over the years I've been receiving emails when I get a response and I ALWAYS responded to those emails.  But, come to find out, I'm pretty sure the person wasn't getting my emails.  They were going to Blogger!  Oy.  I am SO sorry if you responded to one of my posts and never heard back from me, that's not like me at all.

So, from now on, I will go to my blog and respond from there when I get one of your emails.  And, if you are Gail from Sydney who responded to my Japanese jacket post asking about fabrics please go back to that post, I have added my comments and recommendations for you.  I originally sent you a big email but it never got to you!

Huge thanks to Shams, AKA Sharon Zakhour of Communing With Fabric, for helping me get this all sorted out.  OK, confession over, now on to the subject of this blog.

For several years I've been making painted canvas purses.  I've made 5 so far.  They are the only purses I wear unless I'm going out in the evening.  I love them because they're easy to see into, they have pockets that I place in strategic spots so I know where stuff is and they're fun to look at.

Here is the canvas I used for the lining.  I painted half the canvas in black with white accents and the other white with black and grey accents.  I used the lighter one for the inside and the darker one on the outside of the purse.  I like to be able to SEE into a purse...why do purse makers make the inside black?  Probably so it doesn't show the dirt.  But stuff gets lost in there!

I use heavy canvas, I don't wash it before painting because I want it to be stiff so it holds up to future wear and tear.  I use Jacquard fabric paint or just plain craft acrylic.  I apply it with paint brushes of various sizes and foam brushes.  The images are painted freeform, stamped, screen printed, stenciled or I write with Sharpies. 

I layer the paint.  I start with large forms, let them dry and apply smaller images on top.  Usually it's a 3-4 step process.  I don't use an primer or overcoat.

Here is the outside of the purse before I sewed in the lining.  The purse starts out pretty stiff but after a month of wearing it becomes softer and a bit slouchy, which I like.

 One side of the finished purse.  This time I decided to follow the original pattern of the Mackerilla Maxine Bag by putting the long pockets on the bottom of the outside.  I'll see if they work for me.  Usually I just sew in the ones on the ends.

I like to bind the top with fabric I have on hand.  This time I used several fabrics I'd sewn together for another project.  I've used cashmere and raw silk in the past.  I get the handles on Etsy.

The side pocket is lined with a poly techno type of fabric that is smooth and helps protect glasses from getting scratched.

 I carved three stamps for this purse.  The largest one is shown above.  It's the two squarish white shapes.  I've never been very good at carving stamps but I had so much fun this time I think I'm going to carve my own shapes from now on.  

Have a great weekend, I'm headed over to the bunkhouse to start a new, yet-to-be-determined project.



26 comments:

  1. Gayle, I'm glad I could help you sort it out. I looooove your hand painted canvas bags - always have. This one is particularly beautiful. If you ever sell them, let me know. I can sew, but I know that your abstract paintings are much harder to do than they look. At least for me. :)

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    1. Thanks Shams. If you ever want to come over the hill and paint with me I'd love to show you how I do them!

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    1. They are so much fun to do, thank you.

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  3. Gayle -- love these! I've always admired your painting! Just wondering what you use for your hand-carved stamps? I'd like to play around with this, thanks!
    Ann

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    1. Thank you, Ann. Speedball stamp pads are a good choice. Any craft store has a selection. And I used my father's wood carving tools to do the carving but I think you can buy the carving tools that are specific to rubber pretty reasonably. And you don't need more than two or three shapes.
      There's lots of tutorials online but its so dang easy you really don't need much to get started. Have fun!

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  4. LOVE this, love your blog posts, your sense of design and getting things right in a loose appealing way! This is a series that would make a fun photo essay, showing 'the 5' all together. Plus, they look like they came from Barneys or some cool little shop in Paris!

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    1. Oh, such music to my ears! Thank you and thanks for that great suggestion. I'll do a future post on all of them. I'm trying to get better about taking "progress" photos!

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    1. I love painting like this cuz there is no wrong way...just keep going till it's done! Thanks, Katherine!

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  6. I think you should go into business making these bags, they would sell like pancakes. You would do the painting, someone else would make the bags. I know I want one and lots of others would.

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    1. Not a bad idea! I just have to find a seamstress that wants to do this kind of work. Thanks so much!

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  7. Hi Gayle, All of your work is wonderful, but the bags interest me since I make them, too. Great idea to make with canvas--inside and out. I have some leftover painter's drop cloth of heavy canvas that I used to make sofa cushions. It will be ideal for this! Thanks for the inspiration to carve stamps, too. With all your projects, when do you sleep/eat? Haha. Looking forward to your next blog with more great ideas.

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    1. YES, painter's drop clothes are perfect for this, the more spattered the better. I'm 67, Diana, sleep is elusive! Thanks for your comments.

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  8. I'm a handbag maker as well.....and I love this one! I'm with Shams anytime you decide to sell.....fabulous!

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  9. Thank you, I don't know how I could ever sell them since they take about 12 hours to make from start of painting to hand sewing the handles on...I've been wondering how much I would have to charge!
    I like the idea of just painting the canvas and having someone else sew them though!

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  10. A work of art, and practical too!

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  11. Thank you. Yes, so practical. I love using my scraps, after all, it's pieces of fabric I loved in the first place...which is why I haven't thrown them out!

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  12. These are fantastic Gayle! Thanks for the inspiration. I love seeing your work.

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  13. Hi Mary, great to hear from you and thanks!!

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  14. I love these, but what happens if you are out in the rain? Does the bag run on itself, or worse, on you?

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    1. Good question! No, the paints I use, fabric and acrylic, don't run or come off after they are dry. They do slightly wear off a bit after a year or two of wearing but it gives the bags a vintage look that I like. Thanks.

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  15. I will be curious to know how the low pockets work out. I see them and assume they are for visual interest and stability. I'd worry the stuff would fall out.

    Pockets are never big enough. Love how you've framed the canvas sections.

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    1. I've been wearing the bag for about a week now and I'm not a fan of the pockets. I won't add them from now on. They ARE too low. After having made this bag four previous times I don't think they add any stability either. The bag is fine without them!
      I do love the side pockets though, great for keys. And I add an inside pocket on the reverse side for sunglasses...plus a pocket for my phone.
      Thank you for your comment about the framing, it's fun to audition different parts of the canvas.

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