Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Recycling an idea

This week during a Spring cleaning 'urge to purge' cupboard clearing session, I found a box of old
teaching stuff. In it were samples left over from a class I used to teach called 'Tibetan Wraps'. Each time I would introduce the class, spread out random heaps of papers, threads, fabric scraps and beads (of course), then urge the participants to add glue and a willingness to just play. Each time I'd be given those 'So not what I thought it was going to be' stares, and the resigned, 'Oh well, I'm here so I may as well get on with it' shrugs. But every time, by the end of class it was a hard job to get people to go home as they finished just one more, just one more.
The results are lightweight yet remarkably tough beads, a great way to experiment with colour and the bonus is that the more you make the richer the overall effect. I taught the class many times as word spread and friends admired the finished necklaces and bracelets.

I also found a packet of mini pendants which made me smile at the memory... these were another recycling experiment which were the result of a random conversation in a coffee shop about how to find a creative use for those wooden coffee stirring sticks. Go on a quest and you'll find them in all sorts of sizes, thicknesses and qualities of wood.  If you have some hours to spare and a lot of patience, here's what I did.
First I coloured the sticks with felt tip pens, messy but fun. Then I glued them on to patchwork fabric, a light cotton with a mini print. Then I trimmed the fabric flush to the wood, cut the now pretty sticks into short lengths and filed the ends round. I drilled a hole in one end and hammered in a metal eyelet. It took hours and many split failures! Next (there's more?), I hung them up and painted them with clear varnish, I know! In what life did I have ever time for such insanity?

I confess, they ended up in a bag, in the box, in the cupboard. So to honour that previous self who thought nothing of spending an entire day proving you could make something from throwaway stirrers... I gathered together a length of dark metallic chain (A sale time 'bargain box' find), matching jump rings and eye pins, and some nice silvery antique looking end caps. An hour later I had two necklaces and a sense of having completed a job left too long undone.
 The necklaces are basically a single strand with no clasp, just loop the ends and they'll stay in place. Or add a lobster clasp and jump ring at a strategic point to hold the two sides together.
The coffee stirrer pendants became fringe ends for little chain tassels attached to the end beads. Surprisingly, they tinkle enchantingly as they move.

I'm thinking it might be time for a Tibetan Wrap revival!