My Handmade Canvas Part 2

The Fusion of Ideas

It was such a long time ago and I never thought things would progress this far or I would have documented the trail of this discovery but basically, it goes something like this:

As I did some research about plastic bags I came across various ways people were using plastic grocery bags – there is the well known ‘plarn’ in which the grocery bags are cut into strips looped together at the ends to make continuous strands to use as yarn – very cool.

I came across a recycling challenge in which a woman created a child’s shoe with a Target bag -also very cool.

Then I came across a couple of ladies who had the brilliant idea of ironing layers of plastic bags together and making little wallets and purses.

So began my own exploration of ideas – I created braided strands and wrapped wire baskets and covered recycled boxes with them to look ‘woven’. I thought it was pretty cool 🙂

But then the idea came – I knew I could fuse them together with the iron, but could I paint on it?

So the process began, I started with small pieces that I could manage easily. I loved the deckle edge the fusing left behind, it reminded me of watercolor paper – I thought it was beautiful.

The gesso took well to it so I created bunches of  ‘pages’, bound them together and made little journals with them covered with recycled hardback book covers (painted with their own original paintings of course!)

It wasn’t long before I attempted to stretch my grocery bag canvas across a wooden frame  – and that, I’ll save for Part 3 “More Then Just a Canvas”



Blank Canvas

I just love that expanse of white! I get so excited about all the potential!

That first stroke, that first mark, that first drop of paint hits the pristine, perfectly prepped canvas – and we’re off.  We begin a journey, the ideas unfold some of it beautiful and easy, some of it not so much.

Something begins to emerge and the process continues. Its a process of intuitively discerning
what to keep and what to correct. When to loosen up and when to reign it in.  They’re vulnerable moments, where insecurities have opportunity to creep in but they are also moments of deep spiritual connection where, for me, the purest creativity takes place.

This is what I was created to do. To take these journeys, to connect with my creator, to create and share that experience with others.


My Handmade Canvas Part 1

The process for creating my canvas is pretty involved so I thought it deserved a post all its own or 3 🙂 –

Part 1 – The History

Several years ago I was developing some creative projects for my high school studio art class. I wanted something fun and engaging as they were learning to develop their composition skills. My studio art class was all about introducing my students to using a variety of materials and to think outside the box.

It was then I stumbled upon a project that used plastic as the medium. Plastic as in colored plastic from packaging or shopping bags and the like. The students created with the colored plastic findings and assembled their work between self laminating sheets – it was cool.

Learning about the statistics of plastic bags in landfills? Not so cool. Truly, I don’t consider myself an environmentalist, but I do want to be a good steward of the resources God has provided within this planet. I had no idea that only about 1% of plastic grocery bags are brought back by consumers for recycling. I also had no idea that it takes 500+ years for plastic grocery bags to break down in a landfill.

I thought about all the bags that were crammed into (and spilling over) that little plastic bag container in the laundry room – it was a lot of plastic bags. And that was just at that given time, in my house multiply that by…never mind, its too many!

So began by creative journey with plastic grocery bags.

Stay tuned for Part 2; The Fusion of Ideas