Adding Her Name: How-To & A Clumsy Attempt at Sewing

hello-my-name-is sticker
A name is so precious and reveals much about who we are and who’s we are.
Since you are adding the full name of your significant female to the purse, this project also becomes a memorial art form. It is my hope that the multitude of names represented by the purses will:
!. Create a new conversation about cancer
2. Express the collective and individual importance of women
3. bring awareness to not only the disease but also to the grief that lingers in the hearts of family and friends
Type her full name in a word document, print it off, cut it out and mod podge it on to the purse. Simple and done!

Altered purse by Penny Richards pennyrichardsca

Altered purse by Penny Richards pennyrichardsca

Did she like scrabble? Why not glue scrabble pieces to spell out her name?
On the first purse I did, I used typewriter key stickers (found in the scrapbook section at Michael’s) and attached each one with E6000 glue. The possibilities for adding her name are endless and should reflect something about your significant female. For example, as a little girl I would pound away on her old typewriter and loved the old type it tapped out. The typewriter keys were a natural since they reminded me of her home and the fun of playing there.
blog version completed purse
Art making has the power to recall dormant memories. While working on my purse, I could suddenly remember things about my grandmother that I had forgotten like smells, the African Violets in her windows, the little knick knacks around her house, etc. I am working on a second purse (strictly for experimenting with techniques) and memories started flooding back about sewing and quilts. I started remembering some of the old quilts and hand stitches my grandmother did. Below is a pillowcase she made for me one year for Christmas. I absolutely treasure it to this day.
This is a cherished pillowcase made for me by my Nanny. Quilts and sewing were common place in this generation of women.

This is a cherished pillowcase made for me by my Nanny. Quilts and sewing were common place in this generation of women.

The artistic attempts of women often go unrecognized and many quilts are beginning to be appreciated as art forms like the quilts of Gee’s Bend and those by artist, Faith Ringgold. To honor my grandmother and the handcrafted art form of women, I wanted to add the stitches I remembered to the purse. If you know me well, you are snickering at this statement. That is a hilarious thought since I did NOT inherit any of my grandmother’s sewing abilities. While all of my grandmothers and great grandmothers could sew beautifully, I actually FAILED sewing in high school. I decided there had to be a little renegade sewing gene somewhere in my body so after many, many attempts to thread a needle (I think I went cross-eyed temporarily), I attempted to recreate some of the stitches I remembered.
Excuse the bad pic

Excuse the bad pic

A few of the stitches I remember from quilts and my pillowcase.
Okay, not great or even straight stitches (I think I see why I failed sewing) but it echoes some of the traditional folk art of women, recreates memories of my grandmother and it was actually fun despite my past failure with sewing. It’s not perfect but I felt a connection to my grandmother while I struggled with the needle and thread. When you are working on your purse, resist your inner critic, follow the process and remember my happy mantra:
Exactly what you need, will be there exactly when you need it!
I never thought I would attempt to sew on this purse, I just felt “led” to try it without even having any real ability. Here’s a question to ponder . . .
What’s the worst thing that could happen if you try something new and creative on your purse?
Yep, you could mess up. But art is forgiving–you’ll just try again or paint over it or pull it off the purse, that’s all! Try your hand at something new, it may turn out to be a new claim to your feminine heritage!

Any questions, please feel free to comment or contact me! Looking forward to seeing your creative purses to honor our remarkable women!


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