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  • Writer's pictureBarMade Bags

From acrylic painting to ecofriendly bag.

If you read my previous blog, you'll know that I love trying out new creative ideas and this includes different ways of using acrylic paints. I am part of a local art group and although we've not been able to meet in person since last March, we've kept in touch through social media, and regularly share our paintings. By the end of 2020, we were all finding that inspiration was lacking, but we've recently been revitalised with a weekly theme set for us by our art tutor, Joanne.

The first topic was "Feeling the Chill" which was very apt with the cold temperatures in South Yorkshire, and it was interesting to see how the participants interpreted it in different ways and through the use of different media.

I decided to use acrylic paints to create an image based on a photo of icicles taken when we had a holiday at the Forest Hotel in Lapland a few years back.

Rather than the more monochrome effect in the photo, I used shades of blue as well as black and white. I created a textured feel to the lower portion of the painting, to simulate lying snow, and once that was dry I used a pour technique with fluid acrylics to get the flowing movement of the colours in the icicles.

For a while I've been thinking of having a go at creating some textile art: something more than the appliqued flower designs that decorate many of my bags. My "Icicles - Feeling the Chill" painting provided the inspiration for trying out a new art form using some of my collection of fabric offcuts and variegated threads to embellish the work.

I cut a 30cm x 30cm square out of white cotton drill, backed it with fusible interfacing and overlaid it with white net. I cut "icicles" out of a variety of marbled and batik cotton fabrics and fused them to the backing fabric using Bondaweb.

I then stitched these icicles in place using variegated thread.

The lower part of the image looked too bare so I decided to use more of the marbled fabric to cut out some swirling pieces to represent pools of melt-water from the icicles and to add some snowflakes from some printed cotton fabric. Those pieces, along with some machine-embroidered snowflakes (or maybe ice crystals) stitched in silver thread, filled the spaces.

Having made this panel of textile art, I then needed to decide what to do with it and, not surprisingly, I decided to incorporate it into a bag! It needed to be quite a large bag to accommodate the whole panel and because it would be a special, luxury item and not one that would be robust for everyday outside use, I designed a top-handled project-type bag for it to decorate the front of.

I had the remains of a piece of water-marked upholstery fabric in duck-egg blue and this was perfect for the outside of the bag.

Once the art panel had been framed in pieces of this fabric, I backed it with fusible fleece and quilted the panel. This helps to keep the net in place over the base fabric and provides extra interest to the panel.

The completed bag is lined with two internal pockets and can be kept closed with magnetic clasps that are embedded in the facings at the top of the bag.

So there you are: a unique, statement bag featuring an original piece of textile artwork! (If you're interested, it's currently available in my Etsy shop)

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