Haven't been keeping up with this blog, well, barely at all, but I wanted to do a quick post about a photo shoot I did this week. It was for my friend's new jewelry brand, Wire & Wings. She's not new to making jewelry, but new to taking it all online, so we did one crazy shoot in Palm Beach in which we tried to capture as much of her collection as possible - before the sun went down. It's all at Wire and Wings . com or will be soon if it's not yet.
I think my favorite part of the collection would have to be what she makes for brides. Each piece is one of a kind, no one will ever have the same exact piece as you, and includes everything from veil combs to barefoot sandals. There are things for any bride, but so many perfect pieces for the beach loving boho bride. I can think of some many perfect uses for these at a laid back wedding by the sea.
Any for the rest of us non-brides, plenty of unique things well, including these rad red barefoot sandals and unique crocheted jewelry. Check it all out at wireandwings.com
I love using friends as models for my products. My handmade products are all about love - love of surfing, love of well-made things, the love of creating something for another person that they're going to enjoy. So it makes sense for the photo shoots to be fun too. And it doesn't hurt when the friend in question is a seriously good model too!
So last week I got together with this particular model-worthy friend and we took photos of some new things I'd made for fall/winter. A very fun afternoon! Cold-season things are always the hardest because even though it's winter everywhere else, it's still 80 degrees here in Florida! So I supposed this is really fall/winter for the Floridian.
There's not a whole lot to say here, except WHAT?!? Chapman at Sea, my handmade collection of beach-going goods, was featured in the July/August issue of Foam Magazine. So stoked!
The alternate title for this post is "how to make a new thing look really old in 30 minutes."
Last Sunday my husband Joe wanted to make a duffle bag to carry his dive gear to work in so we came up with the bag in the photo. Halfway through, Joe decided the bag would be better if it were made of waxed canvas and so with that we decided to attempt creating our own homemade waxed canvas.
There are a lot of different recipes online for the wax. Ingredients include beeswax, paraffin, turpintine, linseed oil and some other more random things. We decided to keep it pretty natural with a simple 75% beeswax / 25% paraffin formula.
Waxing canvas deepens the color, makes it waterproof, and also makes it much stiffer. If you'd like to try it for yourself, here's the process we used.
Of course, the first thing you need is something to put the wax on. I made this mini duffle bag from the same khaki colored washed cotton canvas that I use in my board bags and decided that it would be our first victim.
Look how nice and clean it is. I'd just finished making it here. A lovely, light canvas bag... now let's age it 100 years.
Step 1. Put the solid wax into a can, like a clean soup or coffee can. Pick the formula that sounds good to you. Like I said, we went with a beeswax/parafin combo, but you can do any formula you like. You don't even have to mix them at all.
Place the can in a pot with some water in it and simmer it. Basically you're creating a double boiler to melt the wax. When the wax is all liquid, it's time to paint it on the canvas.
Step 2. Paint the wax into the canvas and say goodbye to the fresh, clean fabric. We got some cheap, large craft paintbrushes to use for this. It makes a bit of a mess too, so be sure to do it over something you don't mind getting wax all over. It's going to look really bad at this point. The wax will be uneven and might dry with drips all over.
Step 3. For it to look right, you need to even out the wax and remelt it into the fabric. Hit it with the heat from a hairdryer on the hottest setting (or use a heat gun if you want to get serious). You'll see the wax start to warm up and sink deep into the fabric. That's what you want! I thought this was really cool. It goes into all the seams and folds, the whole coating smooths out, and it takes on a nice aged appearance.
So here is the finished waxed canvas duffle. You'll notice the khaki has turned a lot darker and it's almost an army green color. This is because the beeswax has a yellow tint to it.
Another cool feature of the waxed canvas is that it can be folded and it holds its shape. So I was able to create a rad wrinkled texture by scrunching the bag up and then smoothing it out.
There's lots of room to play around and make different textures. The wax can be reheated over and over, wiped off, and reapplied.
It looks like a completely different bag, and since I love old, lived with things it was right up my alley. It ended up looking very much like my old WWII army bag. They honestly look like they belong together now!
To finish it off I made a long shoulder strap of nautical rope and some cool brass clasps. I think it would make a great toiletry bag for a guy. Or a camera bag. Or a very un-girly purse. It's super tough now, and fairly waterproof, so it could really be used for anything!
Recently I came across a product I had to share, Tarrago Self Shine Color Dye. This stuff is amazing! It can change the color of anything leather and make it look brand new and nice again. And it's really easy to do. And it's not a huge mess. It's the perfect DIY project!
I found it by researching leather dyeing online. After reading about some great results on the Friendly Fox blog, I decided to give it a try. I had this sicky olive green J.Crew purse that was technically a nice bag, but that I never used because of the awful color.
I started working with canvas because I like it and it was the best material for my board bags. Since finishing the first board bag collection, I've kept on working with the same materials to come up with some new bags and purses.
Each one is decorated by hand with desert-inspired, tribal style design. I just love drawing on fabric. I've been playing around with different ink on fabric applications for awhile and it may be my favorite medium at this point. See more of these creations in my Etsy and Storenvy shops.
Anyone who knows me knows I like to create. Even though drawing/art is my main thing, I take a lot of breaks from it to try other forms of creativity. It keeps my brain fresh. Working on the same thing too long tends to make it feel heavy, makes the project seem dull and its fun to try new things. That said, I'm SO excited to announce my latest project: Chapman Board Bags!
I have a WWII army bag that I inherited from my grandfather and it's one of my most favorite things. When I take trips it gets stuffed full of supplies and gear and off it goes. It's been all over the place and gotten lots of abuse, but the worse it's treated, the better it looks. The only problem is, even tho it holds a lot, it's not big enough for my surfboard. So I decided to make a board bag in the same style as the army bag, something that had the same old school vibe, and was well made out of durable stuff.
My grandmother taught me how to sew, so I had a pretty good idea what I was doing. It turned out to be a lot of fun too, and I made a pile of them. They're available for sale on Etsy or through me directly. So far, each one is unique even tho they all share the same old school aesthetic.
Check them out at the website: ChapmanAtSea.com and on Etsy. I love making these things and am super proud of them. I did a lot of research on the design, materials and sewing methods to make sure the quality would be awesome. Customs are available: customer orders, custom colors & sizes, all of it. Let me know what you want.
Still working on wooden canvases. I'm enjoying using my hands more in making art. Obviously working in photoshop requires hands too, but somehow it's not the same. It's nice to put a pencil on a surface and whatever mark it makes is the one you're stuck with. No erasing, line smoothing, adjusting. It's honest.
This is a series done on pieces of balsa wood. I also have a surfboard made out of balsa wood. It seems like there's a connection between sea & summer and balsa. So this series is a happy, bright set. Simple patterns and warm summer colors.
They're about 4 x 6 and are in my Etsy shop. Each one is matted in a bright white mat.
I did a design that I submitted to Threadless a couple years ago called "Best Knot Sail Here." Part of it was a happy whale character that I really liked. A lot of times I'll have these characters that are cool on their own, but need to be developed more to make a good design. This guy was one of them, and I didn't know what to do with him.
So I tried painting him in watercolor in my next wooden block piece and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I'm slightly less happy that I can't take a photo that makes it look as good as it does in person... but that's how it goes. Still, he makes me want to do a series of sea creatures. I'm going through my sketchbooks to find all the other abandoned critters from the past.
8 x 12 Watercolor and graphite.
It's been difficult to get real quality computer time lately. So more than ever I've been relying on traditional means of making art. This is cool because it's gotten me to try something I've wanted to for a long time: painting on wood. It's one of my favorite looks, I love when the wood grain shows through the image. It just gives it an extra dimension, makes it feel warmer and somehow more "real."
I've messed around with wood painting in the past, but not seriously or for any length of time. I have an attention problem. Something that makes me avoid sitting down and really working on a thing... Once I start, I'm happy, it's just before that that is difficult. There always seems to be something more fun to do...
Anyways, here is my first ever real attempt designing on wood. I found these pre made wooden blocks at the art shop. They just under an inch thick, so they stand on their own and don't warp the way wooden sheets from home depot sometimes do.
It's simply called "Feathers" and is done in graphite.
Here is a little step by step look at the making on one of my latest pillows. I didn't realize how much I would like drawing on fabric, but it's really fun!
With just about everything I do, there's usually an initial sketch. Even if it's a drawing, I like to get the overall layout down quickly, so I'll draw it out and then go and re-draw it somewhere else when it's all planned.
This photo is good because it shows how important it is to have all your supplies laid out. Coffee, snacks, sunglasses for some reason. I think this day they had the vanilla bean scones = awesome. Those thing are so good and they almost NEVER have them. Don't know what the problem is. If you know a Starbucks that carries them regularly I'd love to know about it. Anyways... So in this case I was drawing on a white tee. I like to use vintage fabric, but this was a new shirt. The fabric gets stretched over a board and pinned down and I get to sketching. Should have done more progress shots, but it only occurred to me halfway through, so this is what you get.
It took maybe 3 hours to draw the whole thing. I like to be picky about shading and things. And I'll draw over the same line probably 10 times until it's the thickness and texture I want.
My original plan was to have the pillow be the shapes of the owls, but I sewed it up that way and the seams weren't laying right. It was passable, but not really nice, so I took it all apart and made it into a square shaped patchwork pillow instead. Doing the patchwork was pretty involved, but I think it came out great. And that's the story of how this pillow was made.