Friday, March 11, 2011

Package project update

I wrote on January 1 that my regular art project for the year would be to make packages.  I haven't been posting photos of my packages, but we're now in the eleventh week of the year and it may be time for a progress report. 

I've found in previous regular art projects that it takes a little while to settle in and find your rhythm.  Several of the packages I've made resemble one another, but a couple are starting to show a little more originality and character.  And even the ones that seem to be variations on the same theme have little differences and twists that I find intriguing.

My rules were that at least once a week, I would make a package out of things that were lying around.  I hoped this project might be an impetus to clean my studio, because stuff could be removed from circulation without actually having to be thrown away, which I often find painful.

Sure enough, in week 2 I tied up my package with a bit of sewed cord that I had made for a quilt date lesson.  It had a nice bead sewed in, so I had been reluctant to throw it out and it had been sitting on the edge of my sewing table for weeks.

We had received a Christmas gift of a floral arrangement trimmed with a big red "velvet" bow, and when it finally bit the dust my first reaction was to save the ribbon, because that's what I always do.  My second reaction was to make it into a package for week 6. 

I knew I would have to make a package while I was on my trip to Antarctica, so I saved things as I traveled -- it's tied up with the cords and elastics from luggage tags. 

I cannibalized the heavy cardboard cover from an old upholstery sample book to use as a support for collage, and then checked through the samples to see whether they were worth saving or should be pitched.  They weren't big enough to do anything with, but they made a nice little package for week 11.

I made some screenprinted fabric in my Jane Dunnewold workshop that had beautiful colors but lousy design.  I hated to throw it away, and had it up on the design wall for a couple of weeks trying to figure out some way to salvage it.  One Saturday night at 10 pm I realized with a start that I hadn't done my package for the week, and ran down to the studio to find something -- anything -- to tie up before the week turned into a pumpkin.  The lousy prints turned into a beautiful package for week 8.

After I trimmed the edges of a quilt, I noticed the pleasant pattern of the quilting stitches on the leftover backing, and bundled that up for week 10. The batting made it nice and puffy.

Many of my other packages have been made of other packages -- it always hurts to see how much we throw away after we've opened up the box, the plastic bag, the envelope.


  1. Your packages are very interesting. I love the idea of using things that are hard to throw away - I have lots of that kind of ephemera laying around. I especially like how you've tied several of them. Kind of adds to the artiness. Do you have a plan for them? Probably too soon to ask but I was just wondering. They are like little diaries of sorts.

  2. no plan yet except to make them. you're right, I'm finding different ways to tie them. I am putting them all in the same big shopping bag so they are getting to know one another.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed viewing each of these little gems. They are very creative. I wouldn't think to do anything like that, but I sure do have a lot of the "stuff" I hate to throw away.

  4. This looks adorable. As a summer camp manager I could sure use some of your ideas to keep the kids busy while I eat lunch, lol. Mind if I use this one?

  5. Hi Cartoner -- of course you can use it!! there's no patent on tying things up into packages. If you check my post at May 14 you'll see how nicely a kid took to this project.