Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved fabric. I kept a collection of my mother’s left over fabric scraps, as she was an avid sewer. I made mini pillows and bedding for my dollhouse and tried my hand at sewing baby dolls and Christmas ornaments. I never inherited my mother’s talent for sewing, but have continued to be fascinated by fiber.
A few months ago I was going through the craft aisles of our local Walmart, not looking for anything in particular--just hoping to be surprised by something that I could take home and incorporate in my art—and voila, I found it! The fabric section in Walmart is a true find—especially for a mixed media artist like me, who only needs the smallest swatches to play with. The lady in the craft department knows me quite well—I’m the gal who buys up 1/16 of a yard swatches of about 10 different fabrics at a time—she is a gem about it though, at least laughing on the outside.
I have about five small bins of these fabric swatches in my studio, from which I can find just the perfect pieces for making miniature whimsical trees, houses, birdhouses, flowers, wings, and even backgrounds for my ATC and 4x4 , sometimes 5x5 collages. They add wonderful texture, are a nice contrast to the paper and paints I work with, and add a bit of whimsy to the canvas—shall we say, some great eye candy—for pennies no less.
Here are a few samples of my work that use these fabric finds. So, when’s your next trip to Walmart?
Susan Tuttle is a mixed media artist who resides in Maine, USA You can visit her website Ilka’s Attic at or Artwords The Online Art Journal (a public site which features the work of participating artists), which she is the founder and curator of .
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Enhance your collages with colorful and whimsical fabric scraps for just pennies.