The answer to both of these questions can be traced back to my first fair in Martinez almost two years ago, when I met a woman named R.C., who is also known as the Dumpster Diversion Diva.
At the time, I was still mastering the art of the tote. My fabric stash had not yet reached epic proportions and I was trying to get as much of my supplies as possible from thrift stores. I was beginning to be drawn in by the dazzling array of prints and patterns available in quilting cottons. Unfortunately, as the raw material for a tote bag, quilting cottons are not ideal. They just aren’t made for the heavy duty daily use a bag gets.
Enter the Diva, who introduced me to upholstery samples destined for the trash heap but rescued in the hope that someone would do something useful with them. So I accepted the challenge and embarked upon this project, combining two of my very favorite things: making bags and recycling.
Upholstery material is meant to be used on a sofa or chair that’s sat on every day, spilled on occassionally, and attacked by kids/pets/rambunctious friends fairly often. This makes it a great starting place for a bag. It’s thick and strong and generally has some stain-resistant properties.
And because most of these samples are smaller than your average handbag, it affords me the opportunity to join together prints and textures and colors in a creative and unique way. Every bag is one of a kind and, if I do say so myself, a work of art.
I know I'm not the only one who's doing this, not by a long shot. I didn't invent it but I'm proud to be one of many people finding joy in repurposing materials to make beautiful, durable and useful items. That's what upcycling is. One person's trash becoming another's treasure.
So to recap: These