Saturday, September 25, 2010

Craft from the Past: People Pillows

We at Five Corners feel pretty strongly about creativity. While it's not always easy, we make a strong effort to designate time specifically for making things... in fact, it's what our messy rented "art basement" is all about. We have drawers of clay, magnets, a cool-looking stick found while walking the dog, jars of old buttons, all kinds of art supplies, piles of assorted fabric, a half-finished mini felt cactus, heat guns, scraps of metal, and stacks of fun papers, among many other things. Sure seems like ample ingredients for creativity, right?

Usually it is... but we get stuck sometimes. With great intentions and expectations we head to the studio where we sit down, crack open a Diet Coke, twirl around in our chairs, eat some candy, and... stare at the wall. These are the moments when we turn to our studio bookshelf for a little inspiration:

We have an eclectic collection of old crafting books we've collected from library sales, garage sales, thrifts stores, and grandmas. Many of the books are from the seventies and have some very strange, dated projects. They also have some pretty rad ideas. If you can't get a spark of inspiration from looking through these, there's something seriously wrong with you!

In Craft from the Past, Megan or I will choose a "vintage" craft project from our book collection and try to make it our own.

In this first chapter, I've chosen a project from the "Family Creative Workshop" series...

While admittedly dated-looking, I think the "People Pillows" project is pretty great. In fact, I would happily adopt any of the kitschy and fun pillows in the book for my couch! Using the book's technique, I decided to make it a little more personal by crafting a "People Pillow" of my brother-in-law for a very unusual birthday gift... because who wouldn't want a giant pillow of their own face?

Since he's an actor, I had lots of photographs of him to choose from (thanks, Google images!). I went with a beautiful in-character western shot because I loved the graphic quality to his distinctive facial hair. Starting with a drawing from the photograph, I blocked out the main shapes:

Then I cut those shapes out of fabric and assembled the image:


I used spray glue to keep the little fabric scraps in place while I machine-sewed it all together:


Et voila! A "People Pillow" for a new generation! I was really happy with how it turned out. When I gave it to my brother-in-law, he looked confused, then pleased, then confused again... the perfect reaction! It now sits in on a chair in his living room, creepily greeting visitors.


Stay tuned for more retooled Crafts from the Past!