A couple of weeks ago, I went to a Community Yoga event at Rain Lily Farm just down the street from my place, with my friends MaryAnn and Katie. MaryAnn was wearing the coolest shirt, a soft lavender t-shirt that had been upcycled with cool criss-crossing latticework. Katie and I both loved it.
What’s upcycling? It’s turning something you no longer want or use, into something awesome!
It inspired me to take a look at a stack of old t-shirts I was going to give away, and think about re-purposing them. I got to doing some searches on Google, and found a number of different cool projects to do with old shirts. But true to my 30 Days of Learning project, I also thought there might be some classes or workshops in such fashion re-dos.
I thought right – in my searches I also stumbled upon the delightfully awesome Wonder Craft. It’s a combination “craft bar,” with a menu of cool DIY projects from upcycling t-shirts and screen printing to jewelry making and greeting cards; and boutique, where handmade items from more than 30 independent artists are available for sale.
I knew I had hit the jackpot – rather than going it on my own (and quite possibly making a total mess out of my less-loved, but still usable, t-shirts), I could get professional guidance on upcycling my shirt. I contacted Beth and Jenifer and, a week later, I was in the studio.
I had to spend the first fifteen minutes just wandering around, looking at all the cool stuff they have on display. From earrings and pendants to bags, ties and baby onesies, it was like a real-life Etsy shop. Which makes me think of “Put a Bird on It” from Portlandia. If you haven’t seen the show or this clip, you have to check it out.
Then I got down to business, consulting with Beth about which project I might want to do. I could make a messenger bag, fabric necklace, flower pins, etc. I chose to combine a small messenger-style bag with a fabric rosette to attach to it.
It was simple, really – and fun. Beth showed me a video tutorial, and then walked me through the steps. From a black t-shirt and some of their scraps and findings, I created this:
I would love to come back for more t-shirt projects or to make some jewelry. The craft bar is perfect for bringing a group of friends for a fun and creative evening, and it’s BYOB – so bring the wine with you! They also constantly have ongoing events – The Wonder Craft took part in the E.A.S.T. art tour, and will be at the upcoming Renegade Craft Fair on November 26 & 27 and the Cherrywood Art Fair on December 10 & 11.
The Wonder Craft used to be housed in their faithful Airstream, Stella, but moved to a storefront space this summer, at Cesar Chavez in East Austin. Stella is still around though – they use her for special events, and you can rent it out for a private party!
Til next time,