Saturday, June 5, 2010

3 Ways to Alter a Canvas Tote Bag

Weekends I try to spend a little more time off screen so today I have some photos for you. They're of a self-challenge I set for myself a few years ago. I was stalled in my art and looking for something that would get me thinking and trying things outside my norm. It worked great!

Canvas Bag Self-Challenge
All three bags began as the same sized canvas tote. I was in need of a challenge when I did these and set myself the task of seeing how different I could make each bag. How far could I push the "armature" of the canvas bag? How much altering could I do until it no longer resembled the original canvas bag? I also limited myself to using fabric and floss (no paint markers etc.)

The first bag (above) I kept the basic look of the bag and just added some raw edge appliques and stitching.

The second bag I used fusible interfacing to wrap a large strip of fabric around the bag. Then I added the raw edge applique and the decorative stitching. I use this one for library books all the time. It's just kind of cute.

The third bag is my Won-ton bag and was one of the first batch of things I had published. I wrapped it in fabric similar to the one above but didn't leave any of the canvas showing. Then I cut off the tote handles (because they SCREAM tote bag) and added my own. I also did some thread stitching, outline embroidery, and beading on the cover of this bag.

All three are different takes on the same challenge. You can come up with your own challenges too. Curious about a medium or material? Make it a challenge to create something with it. Or simply push the edges of the everyday like the bags above. It'll get you thinking in new ways, experimenting, and it'll get you producing. All good things. :)

For more ideas about altering canvas accessories check out this cute canvas apron from Single Stone Studios here. Other options are the canvas camera bags that Donna Downey has for sale. Super cute!


Denise Daffara said...

hi there,
I'm popping in from flying lessons,

that jewellery tree is gorgeous, and i love your flowers too.... are very clever!!

and the BAGS! so so good..

xxx denise

Rebecca E. Parsons/Cre8Tiva said...

oh jen...these are wonderful and give me so many ideas...i teach a painted purse and accessory class so i can't wait to check out the camera bags...

just stopping by from a pause in our flying lessons to say hello and say i am so happy to connect with you...

Blessings, R

Rebecca E. Parsons/Cre8Tiva
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Jodi E said...

Hi Jen,
Your canvas bags are awesome! Color, I love color and your bags have lots. I haven't done much creating lately as I have been reading-lots of reading and I'm sure you know what!

Have a great day,

scrapwordsmom said...

Oh, wow these bags are darling. I really love that one in the middle.

I am clueless on how to sew...maybe someday I will take the time to learn.

My passion is WORDS. Love them...and writing.

I am stopping by from Kelly's class.


Unknown said...

Hi Jen, I came across your blog from another blog, but I'm also taking Kelly's ecourse and loving it. I just love your wire art. Very original and creative..

Cristi Baxter Clothier said...

All three of these are wonderful, Jen! I'm especially drawn to the first photo.