Ande Cook of Chickory

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Ande Cook: Once i saw a buck come out of the forest with vines trapped in his antlers. That was the inspiration for this painting.

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Where the Wool Things Are

2009 is the International Year of Natural Fibres. One of the world’s most beloved natural fibres, wool, is also one of the oldest in use. Although sheep were domesticated around 10,000 BC, it took people nearly 5,000 years to begin spinning their wool. In the time since then, wool has been a worldwide textile-of-choice for clothing as well as a myriad of home comforts.

Currently, global wool-production is at around 2.1 million tonnes per annum with Australia leading the herd, so to speak, followed by New Zealand and China. This figure, while seemingly large, is actually much less than it once was. An increased demand for synthetic fibres beginning in the 1960s meant a decline in wool prices and, as a result, production.

The current “green” movement, however, has led to a renewed interest in sustainable natural fibres, including wool. While new wool products continue to enjoy their popularity in fashion and home décor, it is the “old” wool that is garnering much attention in the handmade community. With an eye on thrift and a commitment to “reduce and reuse“, eco-conscious crafters and artisans are repurposing existing and heirloom woolen garments to create fun and fabulous items.

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New in the Gallery

  • Red and White Heart Valentine Quilted Fabric Postcard

    This red and white Valentine from FabricGreetings is simplicity in itself. It features a red heart appliqued to a red and white floral background. The applique is done with a decorative machine stitch and features a small heart. A printed “happy valentines day” ribbon is also appliqued to the… details »

  • Garnet and 14k gold filled hoops

    Small 14k gold filled circles have been wire wrapped with smoothed, faceted garnet rondelles. Each circle features 15-16 of these gorgeous magenta red gemstones. They remind me of little raspberries. Each hand formed and hammered circle drop hangs from small hand formed and hammered 21 gauge 14k gold filled… details »

  • Kangashrew the flannel monster

    Kangashrew is flannel with securely stitched felt detail and measures 12″ in height. Like all of the flannel monsters, Kangashrew was designed to be cuddly yet durable. I make all of these adorable monsters with the same care I put into the original monsters I made for my son’s… details »

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Handmade Seasonal Stock-Up

[hKristin]

Welcome to another Seasonal Handmade column. This week I am going to show you some great handmade ways to stock up on seasonal goodies. Remember, even if there isn’t a holiday in the immediate future, it always pays to be prepared.

Up first is Halloween. Halloween is just a few short months away now and if you want to get ready for trick-or-treaters, you might want to start with this adorable table runner from Mountain Home Quilts. Can’t you imagine this sitting on a console table in your entry? When the little ghouls and goblins appear on your doorstep, they’ll love your style and your candy.

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Bottled Up

[hLiz]

In our busy lives these days, we use a lot of disposable things without giving them much thought at all. So much is single-use, single-serving, throwaway packaging—things that are (hopefully) recyclable and that (hopefully) wind up in the recycling bin.

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The great thing about today’s eco-friendly artists is that they see a lot of our everyday trash as raw material. Instead of heading to the recycling center (or worse, the landfill), our single-use, throwaway “stuff” gets a beautiful new life as housewares or wearable art.

Take the plastic bottle, for example. We use a lot of plastic bottles. Somewhere near 28 billion single-serving water bottles are used each year in America alone. Yet less than 20 percent of them are recycled. Some estimates are as low as 12 percent.

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Armed with a heat gun, or tools as simple as a pair of scissors, artists are making some incredible items out of those bottles. gulguvenc (photos above and below, left) uses a heat gun to shape PET bottles and then pierces them to create amazing bowls and jewelry.

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anettesplastics crochets old plastic bottles into amazing jewelry forms like this necklace (above, right) and the rings below, while both arnym (below, left) and ArtworkbyKD (below, right) cut shapes from old bottles to make their jewelry.

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The great thing about plastic bottles is that they can be recycled. They can be made into new bottles, or processed into other raw materials, like craft supplies. There are plastic bottle yarns out there now, and felt and fabric made from recycled bottles. But recycling, like the production of the bottles themselves, takes up a lot of energy. Keep that in mind the next time you reach for a bottle of water. It might be worth investing in a reusable bottle to complement your new handmade purchases!

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Bottle rings and fruit bowl above also by anettesplastics.