Among the amazing array of art and craft elements from around the globe that are stocked in Gwen Lafleur’s online store are Kuchi patches. This October, the Artist Tribe (Gwen's posse of like-minded artists) are spotlighting these gorgeous, intricately beaded and embroidered vintage Afghan Kuchi patches...and each one is a mini work of art.
When I opened my box of October supplies and saw a big, round wine-colored Kuchi patch, the creative light bulb went off in my head, and I knew just where to use it.
I am always on the lookout for ways to recycle and upcycle household items. One of my favorite things to repurpose are tubs from the Body Shop’s Body Butter. I had an empty one sitting in my stash for a while and the top of it was exactly the same size as my big Kuchi patch. The question was, what do I do about the rest of the container?
In the past I have covered containers with felt, fabric and molding paste. (Here’s a link to my blogpost about another upcycled storage container.) I searched through my basket of fabrics and box of trims to find similar colors and designs that would work with the wine-colored Kuchi. I decided to go with fibers in the purple and orange family, colors reminiscent of richly colored fall leaves.
First, I measured around the circumference of the tub and also measured the height, added a little extra, and cut a piece from some beautiful purple and gold paisley fabric that I found in New York’s “little India” neighborhood on Lexington Avenue in the east 20s. I had been hoarding it waiting for the right project…and this was the one. I also traced around the bottom and cut a circle shape.
I smeared a layer of gel medium on the container’s sides, then carefully adhered the fabric to it. I used the selvedge edge of the fabric and brought up close to the spiral threads at the top, but made sure not to overlap, which would interfere with the screw-on lid.
With the words “More is more!” often said by one of my favorite Fashion Institute of Technology Textile Design teacher ringing in my head, I set to work finding embellishments. I used some of Gwen’s jewelry components and rummaged through my personal stash of jewelry-making parts for the rest. I discovered some long-forgotten carved bone elephants in my stash that were just right and went beautifully with Gwen's dangly charms.
I also took some of my own handmade Tyvek beads, combined them with small Swarovoski crystals, and added a looped headpin so they would hang. (For my tutorial on how to make beads out of recycled Tyvek mailing envelopes, click here and scroll down to the Tyvek Beaded Necklace instructions.)
On a piece of Gwen’s burnt orange sari ribbon, I alternated the larger dangly embellishments with the Tyvek beads, then tied it around the top of the jar. Last, I wrapped the orange sari ribbon and the dangly elements and fiddled with it until the jar had a casually-elegant appearance.
Here's a photo of the new storage jar, sitting on my bookshelf along with the other three body butter jars I had previously repurposed. Now the question is...what do I keep in my new India-inspired jar? Art supplies? Jewelry? Coins? Crayons? Mini brads? Beads?
Please take a look the Kuchi patches on Gwen's website...you can save 15% on all Kuchi patches throughout October. And don't forget to surf around and see the incredible papers, trims, stencils and other unique items. The collection of items in Gwen's online store is unlike any other!