In DIY and Make-Do tutorials, Workshops & events

This week I sent off a small selection of my work to the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan Wisconsin as part of an upcoming DIY exhibit. I was invited to be a Connecting Communities artist in residence for a week there this coming fall. Here’s a blurb from their website:

This summer and autumn, eight artists will lead a series of week long workshops devoted to do-it-yourself (DIY) crafts. The DIY craft movement emphasizes sustainability, individuality, and living simply. DIY craftspeople strive to stop the homogenization of American culture and to create work driven not by capitalism but rather by a sharing community. This project promotes DIY ethics to make craft technologies and skills accessible to all and to encourage individuals to create their own material goods. Join the community of DIYers to learn new skills, to create fabulous objects for your personal use, or even to create a means of additional income.

There will be more information added to the JMKAC website in the coming weeks! In the meantime I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek. My workshops will be MYOB: Make Your Own Bag. This was inspired by the current plastic bag “crisis” and is a means of creating awareness and to encourage people to make reusable bags to take shopping. I’m still tweaking the details, but basically we will be making bags out of all sorts of recycled materials — from felted sweaters to fused plastic bags and everything in between! While these particular bags in the exhibit (and the felted sweater bags not shown here) are not an everyday grocery shopping solution, my aim is to promote the repurposing of materials and creative problem solving.

These are a few of the bags I sent for the exhibit. (You may remember the fused plastic bag Octopus Tote from last summer, as it had gotten quite a response from CRAFT zine to Treehugger! There is a handy tutorial available from Etsy Labs showing how to fuse) I made this bag from mylar juice pouches and used an old jump rope for the handles. I kind of made up my technique as I went along, but found a pretty good tutorial if you’re interested. Also part of the exhibit are a few of my felted sweater bags from Warm Fuzzies, which of course are more of my “signature” look.

Anyhoo, it’s kind of funny that I’ll be heading to Wisconsin to do the residency. In fact, the woman that is organizing the whole thing actually emailed me about it the very day we moved to Maryland last summer. I thought , Oh No! I can’t do it because we moved! In reality, I don’t think she even knew I was in Wisconsin and the other seven artists are from out-of-state as well!


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Showing 18 comments
  • Anonymous


  • mariarrosa

    They are lovely!!! Congratulations.

  • Susan

    I think you should just stay forever when you come back, not in Sheboygan (not that there is anything wrong with Sheboygan:)but back in Madison! That sounds like a fun workshop setting, wish I could come.

    I love your bags.

  • Mia Zucca

    I love your Octopus Tote. I can’t wait to make one!

  • Jody

    How exciting! We visit Sheboygan every summer and always go to the Kohler art museum. It started because we had to check out the bathrooms, which we’d heard about on the Travel Channel, and now we love it for the kids activities and the exhibits too. We’ll be sure to look for your things while we’re there this summer.

  • lichi

    it’s beautiful !

  • Georgia

    I love the fused plastic bag with the targets on it. That rocks. AND gets me thinking…feel a summer project coming on. Wish I could come to your workshop, it sounds fantastic. I find it so hard to throw things away- like those fantastic burlap bags that rice comes in. I always see potential in them for something else. Oh, I’m excited now, this has really got me thinking. Congratulations!!!

  • Di

    That sounds like a great way to spend a week! I wish I could be in Wisconsin!

  • RID

    So cute, I love them! Thank you for sharing that tutorial.

  • Sara Mincy

    Love the bags!

  • Amy Lu

    Oh my!!!

    I’ve been reading your blog since… oh, forever…

    Way back when. Before the Martha-thingy.

    You’ve inspired me, I have a gigantic rubbermaid full of felted sweaters, just waiting to become other things. I love your little felted bunny pattern. It’s a staple baby shower gift for me!

    And… I live in Sheboygan. I can’t wait to see your bags in person! A friend and I made up some plastic “fabric” last year after seeing it on your blog. If you are offering any workshops, I’d love to sign up!

    (And I vote for you to relocate here, Sheboygan is lovely. :o) Not that there’s anything wrong with Madison!)

  • claudine hellmuth

    LOVE this!! I want to make bags with you!

  • Susan

    I also vacation near Sheboygan every summer (who knew it was such a hot spot??) and we always visit the John Kohler Art Center. I’ll be there in a couple of weeks and will look for your things. When will you actually be there?

  • Betz White

    Hi Susan,
    The whole DIY exhibit will be up June-Oct. My workshops will be mid September. Maybe I will see you! Stayed tuned for more details…

  • Cassi

    Oooh, I remember these! I’m so glad you posted them again! I have yet to try this but I am dying too :)

  • Sarah

    So THAT’ what a “Capri Sun bag” is! I’ve been saving our used pouches for weeks because I’d signed up to make one at a church event tomorrow, and until now wasn’t really sure what I was going to be making. Now I’m super excited- that’s very, very cool!!

  • SummerSadie

    Those bags are precious. Have a fun trip.

  • Jackie

    I’ve just discovered your blog and you are so generous with your ideas. I’ll be back!

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