Page #4 of my wallet
I just discovered this great little button on the bottom of my "add a new artwork" page in the "My Artwork Portfolio" section.
This is probably the button I read about the other day, and if so, obviously I wasn't paying much attention. So this button is a new button for me. A special button. A magical and rather fanciful button. I like it.
It was discovered almost accidentally. You might say it was a moment when, though I was deep in thought, the little button lit up in my brain like a tiny lightning bolt from the computer screen before me.
After adding five photos of my "Little Pink Spaceship" wallet, each with a different page of the book sewn on top of it, I noticed these three words. "Blog this artwork". Intrigued, I checked the square and hit "save". Then, voilą! It showed up on my blog as the photo for the next post, which I immediately edited. It is now the post you are reading.
I have to tell you that I keep finding new and better things that are available on my control panel here. It's very exciting and fun. And it's really easy! I like that best of all.
Now, About the wallet:
My friend, Jane Harrison makes metal crosses and other playful jewelry from recycled tin cans.
They are very skillfully made, and have a refined-rustic-vintage quality about them. It's possible to have all three of those things simultaneously, but not easy. It requires study, experience, time, and planning all on top of talent in order to make a craft into something sophisticated and artistic, and not "Quilted Chicken", as my pal Kay Robb calls crafty-crafts, like crocheted toilet paper roll covers with doll head handles. Many people like them, but they aren't art. They are crafts.
Next time I talk to her, I'll see if Jane will loan me a photo of my favorite of her metal crosses to show you. So much thought is put into hand manufacturing these marvelous little treasures. I've fallen in love with them.
Likewise, Jane is pretty enamored with my personal hand sewn and collaged wallet, now retired from use. I just thought as I was putting it away this afternoon that I would like to share it with you today.
It's a very personal thing, this wallet.
I whipped it up a few summers ago on the long road to Miami. It is made of turquoise silk scraps leftover from a headboard which Bill and I made together from antique porch columns. I also used an old belt and other scraps of things in my goodies bag (a bag of odds and ends that I hope to find a use for some day, but am not sure I will), including one of my favorite old painting rags which came from a pair of Bill's undershorts. Now that is personal.
You may think that it looks pretty slapped together, but for a perfectionist like myself to finish something with this rugged, childlike appearance, it requires a great deal of forethought and careful consideration.
I began with a basic sketch of the shape and design, working out the logistics of the not as simple as it looks construction. Then I figured the size, because I wanted it to be big enough to hold credit cards and money, but small enough to fit in my small purse.
Next I picked out fabrics and trims and cut it all out.
Then it was very deliberately hand stitched in an irregular pattern, using a variety of sewing and embroidery stitches with linen thread. I made a little mixed media book and stitched it to the front. Later I created a heavy vinyl matching cover to protect my little masterpiece. The whole thing was secured with a linen string wrapped back and forth in a specific pattern.
I used this little conversation piece until the vinyl began to get tattered and frayed on the corners. That was when I decided it was time for retirement.
Though I have sold one other wallet and have one on my Etsy site for sale, I don't typically make things like this to sell. I make them simply for the pleasure of making them. It is impractical to sell this kind of thing for me because of the time it takes to make something this detailed and unique. I figured it out once, and I'd earn about $2.00 an hour for it, not counting the sometimes irreplaceable materials.
As you can imagine, I'd rather keep it in my own collection or give it to one of my girls than to sell it at this price.
The exception is when I can sell it to someone who will appreciate fully in all it's unique glory. The one wallet I did sell went to a young artist who I know will always treasure it. I get a lot of satisfaction just thinking about it being in her possession, carefully handled and put to good use.
These are the things an artist makes for the simple joy creating.
They are the little treasures she will pass on to her children and her grandkids. They're the kind of thing that may some day, if someone somewhere understands its uniqueness, will end up in a little glass box on the mantle.