Thursday, 26 August 2010

Books and Bags

If you go down to the library today, you're in for a big surprise! Well, Alton library anyway.

Generally, libraries used to be musty smelling places full of dusty, well read books and librarians telling you to shh! Well, no more. If you go to a library now, you can not only borrow the latest best seller, you can also borrow CDs across the musical spectrum (Alton has got Bryan Adams to Metallica), DVDs of the latest films, computer games and surf the internet.

Alton library also goes a step further than that. They are selling local, handmade crafts. When I was in the library a week or so ago to borrow a book on felting, I noticed a large, glass display cabinet with handmade jewellery and turned wood items for sale. A quick chat with the manager revealed that they are happy to provide selling space free of charge to local craft folk and taking a 25% cut of any sales.

I left my card and got an email a few days ago offering me some space in the display cabinet. From Saturday, a selection of my handbags, handbag charms, door stops, lavender bags and peg bags will be available to the visitors of Alton library.

It is such a great idea. I get some free advertising and shelf space in the town and the library gets some much needed funds when they sell an item. The staff in the library were so friendly and enthusiastic about my products too which made me feel very welcome. Hopefully I will get some sales. They have offered me the space on a 3-4 month trial period and with the run up to Christmas around the corner, hopefully it will be successful.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Funky Fabric

I seem to spend hours trawling the internet in search of fabric and textiles to use in my handbags and home wares. I much prefer to use vintage and secondhand textiles in my creations and particularly enjoy repurposing items.

Of late, I have been trying to buy vintage curtains as you get a lot of fabric for your money. Using clothing can limit what you are able to make as the pieces of fabric can be quite small. Curtains are great as you usually have a large expanse of flat fabric leading to endless possibilities. I have a huge pile of vintage velvet curtains in various colours but I have been trying to find some patterned fabrics to add to the pile.

I have a penchant for the funky fabrics of the 1950's to 1970's. I love the geometric designs, with the bold colours. Curtain fabrics are usually quite thick and with the strong designs, the fabrics are perfect for doorstops. I am constantly watching and bidding on curtains on eBay but they seem to go for more than I am willing to pay.

This morning I trotted off to the local car boot sale with my usual open mind, looking for anything that might be useful, fabric, buttons, beads, vintage handbags. I was quite taken aback to spot a pair of funky green and white curtains on one stall. My first thought was that they were modern from somewhere like Ikea. On closer inspection at the label though, I realised they were in fact genuine, 1970's curtains from Marks & Spencer.

The curtains are both 64 inches wide and 52 inches long, so a really good size. More importantly they are in fabulous condition with no marks or fading. Just think how many doorstops I could make out of them?!

The only problem is, they are so fabulous, I don't think I can bring myself to cut them up. I wouldn't hang them in my house but as a pair of vintage 1970's curtains, I love them. I think I am going to list them on eBay and see what happens. If they sell I can buy other vintage fabric with the proceeds. If nobody else buys them, then maybe they will get the chop after all.

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