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Plastic Fabric – post from 2015

January 27, 2020

[finally posted – since I have so much more to say now and realized I had never finalized this draft!]

I have been exploring how to reuse plastic shopping bags, sheeting (from packaging), and film (from dry cleaning), and newspaper sleeves for a few years now. I first talked about it here back in 2009 – one of the first posts on this blog! – and gave some information about my process, which really hasn’t changed much.


Strung fused folded “beads” with metallic acrylic paint on black shopping bags

Later, I added a post about making jewelry out of the sheets. Back then, I was making pretty straightforward units that I strung onto cords or neck wires.

I started adding more layers and more paint – getting as interested in the fabric Was creating as the forms I was making using that fabric.

I also started paying more attention to which kinds of plastic work better for the various layers and how to accommodate for or control shrinkage. One issue to pay attention to is that plastic bags are now being made to biodegrade, and the more biodegradable variations fuse less successfully (not surprising). Also, shinier, thick shopping bags don’t fuse well. I have found that the piece will be more stable if I use thick sheeting as a base. It isn’t always easy to find and is often used to protect larger shipped items, like new appliances, or to wrap artwork in shipment. So I have my eyes open for nice thick sheeting! [Guess what I found – will post about this pronto!] But playing around with less reliable combinations can yield beautiful results as well. Here is an image of some more complex sheets, waiting to be cut up.


I began to sew cut elements as well, forming necklaces and earrings.


Time to post more about it!

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