Perennial is a non-profit community workshop and store with the mission of building a creative culture of sustainability and turning discarded items into valuable resources. As an artist and craftsperson who already is enthusiastic about using recycled materials, I was delighted when my friend Mary (pictured at top left) invited me to meet her there and try out one of the community workshop sessions.
I met Mary at a Creative Arts Fellowship last year and got to know her better at some subsequent events. Mary’s art and mine have a lot in common – we both like upcyling materials and taking apart old jewelry to make new. I enjoyed teaching a class with Mary recently at one of her Women’s Upcycled Jewelry Jams. I’m looking forward to more opportunities for Mary and I to collaborate. A gifted artist and teacher, Mary creates under the name Sanctified Studios.
I knew I’d love Perennial after being in there for about two minutes! Seeing all the nice work space, supplies and tools was exciting but what really sold me was the console stereo! Clearly my retro-loving, thrift-shopping, dumpster-diving self was going to feel comfortable here.
At my first work session I cut up some wood for an upcoming class I’m going to be teaching on building garden pollinator houses. Then I put together a wood tray that I’ll be finishing and writing about later.
You can become a member of Perennial to access the work space and use the tools when they hold open sessions. Different levels of membership also give you discounts on classes and other events. Perennial accepts donations of materials. You can trade or purchase some of the materials for what you think is a fair market value. They also make craft kits that are for sale in the shop.
Art and crafting can often be lonely activities. Working around other artists is really healthy for social interaction and for the stimulation of being around new ideas. I’m looking forward to many happy times while I enjoy my new membership!
I’ve been working on some prototypes for cuff bracelets made from upcycled fabric, ribbon and faux leather. I’ve had a lot of fun stitching ribbon to tubes made of fabric and pieces of faux leather. I’m embellishing some with beads and buttons. My next step will be working out how to finish the backs and attach snap fasteners. So much fun!
It’s a good thing I make detailed notes as I work, because this kitchen backsplash project underwent a two and a half year hiatus! I didn’t really plan to neglect the project for that long, but in 2013 and 2014 I did a lot of art and craft shows and my studio space and time was necessarily diverted to that pursuit rather than home improvement projects. In 2015 I’m doing fewer shows and determined to finish some of what I started earlier!
In a previous article I described stenciling with paint on a wood garden sign. That works great if you don’t want a lot of small words but I found myself in need of some new garden signs that would require a lot of text on them. I decided to find a way to computer generate the text and put it on a weatherproof sign. In the past I had purchased produce from a co-op and had saved a couple of the thin wood crates thinking they would be useful for garden markers of some kind. I decided to make small signs from this wood and print out my text on clear acetate and attach that to the signs with brads.
How would you like a practical and decorative wooden sign for your yard or garden? Stencils are handy for such a project because they are available in letters, numbers and lots of fun decorative designs.
Do you collect glass insulators? I often see them for sale in antique shops and there are several web sites with information for insulator collectors. I’ve always found them attractive looking and I thought they’d be even more interesting if made into something functional. Flameless votive candles are a lot of fun (and safe) to incorporate into your decor. In this project I’ll show you how to make a glass insulator into a flameless candle lantern.
I repurposed this gift box into a nice storage box by doing some decoupage work on the lid. First I glued down antique imagery. Next I rubber stamped harmonious images onto gold and white tissue paper with Staz On permanent rubber stamp ink and glued those pieces down. After that layer was dry, I brushed varnish over the whole box top for durability.
Stamping on tissue paper can be very useful for planning out rubber stamped designs. This arrangement was made while I was designing a stamped border of hand carved rubber stamps for my kitchen, to which I’m trying to give a Santa Fe look.
You could use plain ordinary scrap paper and not tissue paper, but tissue paper has the advantage of being transparent. Transparency is a great aid to planning designs in which the paper bits might overlap, since you can see the orientation of the design below through the translucent paper. In the example below, I am upcycling a worn out and cracked wooden cutting board. I filled in the cracks with spackling paste, sanded, and am in the process of building up the design with sponging, stenciling and stamping. I will put cork strips on the bottom to make it into a trivet.
Some of the stamp designs you see above are available in a smaller size in my shop – check out my Petroglyph Rubber Stamps.