Recently, I was on a trip and carried all my essential electronics in a re-used 10x12 paper envelope folded over with a rubber band. I realized that this just would not do. Upon returning, I took matters into my own hands and created a vinyl pouch.
This pouch was for my friend Randy’s birthday. It is a little larger than a standard business envelope. First, I chose images I thought were appropriate for Randy. On the street in Zurich, I was lucky enough to find a great astronomy book; it was being given away because the binding was broken. Naturally I couldn’t let that opportunity go by – I do love space and exotic thrift. I selected an image of a couple standing together in front of the night sky. The sky looks very much like a painting of Randy’s I like a lot.
To make the pouch:
Make a template out of an old Fed Ex envelope. Be sure to include seam allowance.
Arrange the cut-out book images in a composition that covers the area of the template.
Next, lay a section of clear vinyl larger than the template out on the table, paper side up. Remove the backing on the corners and tape the vinyl to the table. In a smooth motion, pull the backing off.
Transfer the arrangement of cut-out sections onto the vinyl. Once an image is down do not try to move it. It will rip.
Place another piece of sticky vinyl over the images. It is possible to do this step alone, but it is so much easier with two people. Start in a corner and slowly make the two sticky sides seal together. Once they adhere to one another, burnish the whole things with a wooden spatula. This makes the sticky vinyl really cling to the pictures and helps to work out any air bubbles.
Using the template, trace the shape onto the vinyl and cut. Next, make the folds, again using the wooden spatula to crease the plastic. Making the two side seams is quick and easy.
Next sew on buttons as needed. I put small buttons on the backside to ensure the whole thing is secure.
Luisa Cevese’s Riedizioni informed this projects aesthetics. She is a lovely lady who recycles fabric, yarn and leather by fusing it to melted plastic sheeting. Her technique allows one side of the fabric to keep its texture. I think her work is a new approach to piece work in quilting. This and other work of hers continues to explore and push the boundries of textiles. She once printed white silk by allowing nails to rust on its surface.
Her work is available all over. It has been used by Comme des Garcons, Paul Smith, Romeo Gigli, Maharam, Moss and Chanel. Girl friend has it going on.
Though my technique does not support something as thick as fabric, nor does it have the stability of Luisa’s work, it is pretty strong and durable. The pouch gives new use to images that might otherwise be thrown away. Books whose lives are ready to chance can be found many places. I also imagine using this technique to preserve paper souvenirs from a trip, event, or special memory.
A roll of clear drawer lining adhesive vinyl
2 large and 2 small buttons
Pictures from a broken book
A wooden spatula