Flash back to my middle school years, a period of tying to discover
and establish my self-identity. I found myself gravitating to the music of the
late sixties, early seventies; the Doors, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin. On the TV
show The Wonder Years, Kevin’s older
sister was my favorite character. I loved the fashion styles of that period, so
I started wearing tie-die and my Mom’s old “vintage” clothing. When low cut, bell-bottom
jeans came back in style in the early 1990s, I had to have them. I would
wear flowers in my hair and round “John Lennon” sunglasses. Peace signs were
everywhere, including my Cold War poster hanging in my room. This was my style.
In high school, I began painting things in my newfound
hippie style. My wooden desk chair was painted with multihued peace signs,
paisley, and organic swirls. Then I started on my jeans: roses, the happy face,
and more peace signs. I also painted some T-shirts for friends and myself. When the jeans wore out, I cut the painted
part off and pinned them up on my cork-board. I didn’t know what I was going to
do with these remnants, but I knew I wasn’t finished with them!
In the early 2000s I got my own sewing machine. I was very
excited to try it out and start sewing.As
my creative mind began to spin, the idea of making a purse from recycled fabric
came to me.I had a pair of super comfy khaki
pants that wore out beyond wear-ability. I cut the material into two
panels.Then machine embroidered one of
my jean pieces (rainbow peace sign) onto the top panel. I picked up some really
cool fabric ribbon at Joann Fabric that reminded me of my Uncle’s camera strap.
The ribbon is primarily black with bold colors; red, yellow, & green. While
I have needed to make new bags for myself, the strap has been reused for the
third time and has lasted 15 years.
I received (and still receive) a lot of compliments on my bag. Women asked if I made bags with other
designs, like dragonflies, painted on them. This got me thinking… I started
with a dragonfly bag. This bag was not
only hand painted, but also had hand embroidery. I would sit outside in the
evening and embroider. From there I
moved on to my painted daisy bag, machine embroidery, and other repurposed
fabrics like olive cargo pants and fabric samples. As I create and sew, it is
my goal to encapsulate that 60s-70s hippie look in my bags.