Folk Purse

posted in: Embroidery, Recycled, Sewing | 0


This purse is made of recycled materials and scrap fabrics. I ripped the leather off of some benches that were being thrown away. I had a general idea of what I wanted the purse to look like, which drastically changed three times as I got further along in the project. The bottom of this post are my first few sketches.

I was aiming for minimalism (not something that comes naturally to me), with possibly some embroidered details. My minimalist aspirations fell to the wayside when I decided I wanted to paint the leather.

I had never painted leather before, so I bought a few bottles of paint in whatever colors were calling to me that morning. There was a lot of messing around while I worked on reducing my watercolor design to match the selection of leather paints that I had bought.

The final painted design is heavy influenced from Dinara Mirtalipova’s book Imagine a Forest, which is a source of endless inspiration for me.

I started laying in a white undercoat and then slowly building up the final design. The leather paints I bought (Angelus Leather Paint) were more translucent than I had anticipated, so I ended up doing at least five thin layers of paint on each detail to reach the opacity I wanted.

The purse took way longer than I had originally planned. I thought it would be a quick Saturday project, but I ended up spending two weeks doing just the painting portion. I’m very happy with how the purse turned out!

See below for sketches and photos. Click to make larger.


Early sketches (bottom left and top right).

Final watercolor design.

White undercoat.

Detail (ft. squirrel).




posted in: Art, Recycled, Sewing | 0

For the first time in several years, I actually have a break between school and my summer job. I went home for two weeks and spent time with my mom. I installed a couple of dog doors, built some steps and a fence, and other house work. I also finally had time to make a wallet that I’ve been thinking about for a few years.


I have a gigantic/ancient phone and I wasn’t satisfied with the wallet/phone combos I could find. My mom gave me some leather scraps (beautiful leather scraps!), and this is the result. The zipper around the outside was difficult to get right. It took several tries (with some real funky looking mistakes), but I’m happy with the finished product.inside_with_stuff

The inside of the wallet has a pretty floral pattern. The fabric is a thin cotton material so I used some heavy-duty fusible interfacing between layers to make it more sturdy. There is plenty of storage for cards, my ID and two “secret” pockets.


Finally, a casual, candid photo of me holding the wallet.


Window Seat

posted in: Recycled, Sewing, Wood | 0

I have an awesome window in my apartment that is severely underutilized. It takes up the width of my living room and has a beautiful view of the forest. When my parents visited me last year, my dad kept walking back to the window and staring out it for several minutes at a time. He finally said “how do you not just spend all of your time looking out this window?” Well, now I can!

This weekend I build a window seat that also serves as storage for my art supplies. The seat also folds into a standing bookshelf, see bottom of post (shout out to Laura for helping me with the design!). The seat is almost entirely recycled (everything except for glue and fasteners).


The window in all its glory (pardon the crooked blinds).


I also sewed the cushion and pillows. I did the embroidery a while ago, but had yet to find a use for it.


And finally, the seat transforms into a standing bookshelf. Wherever I end up living after graduate school probably won’t have such a magnificent window, so I decided to make this window seat double purpose.


Folding Table

posted in: Art, Math, Metal, Wood | 0


Two elevator pitches to market this table:

Do you have a room with walls that meet at 90 degrees AND other walls that meet 60 degrees? Tired of buying different tables to fit in each corner? Look no further!

Finally a table that accommodates the non-committal RSVPs of the millennial generation! Planned a dinner for four and one friend cancels at the last minute? No worries, quickly transform your four person table into a stylish three seater.

This table is based on a hinged dissection of a triangle into a square. The table was my final project for my welding class. I found an explanation of this hinged dissection (called Dudeney’s Dissection) in How Round is Your Circle by John Bryant and Chris Sangwin. I began by drafting the geometric construction on paper and then in AutoCad. The cool thing about geometric constructions is you can draw them using only a straight edge and a compass. Below is a sample of my drafting for the table.


Geometric construction in AutoCad (green lines were for layout)


Triangle and square positions. Yellow circles represent leg placement and purple represent hinges.


The four moving pieces of the table with box tube layout.

I decided to build the table with a 1″ steel box tube frame and wooden inlay. Since the angles had to be exact, a degree off would result in a gap in the table, I printed out the layout full scale and built a jig directly on top of the drafting. I checked each cut against the full scale drafting to ensure the angle was correct.


 Table section in welding jig.


Welded sections assembled in the two table positions.

The next big challenge was the hinges. Each hinged section had to move a full 180 degrees. This would not be difficult with wood, since you could just inset the hinges like you would with a door. But with thin (16 gauge) tube, I did not think that I could inset them accurately. Further more, the hinge had to be strong enough to support the table in the resting position and while being rotated. After lots of research and a few prototypes, I ended up creating a simple hinge with a bolt that mounted to the underside of the table.

 hingeHinge mounted to underside of table.

Finally, I made some simple legs out of schedule 40 pipe and through bolted them.




Overall, I’m happy with how the table turned out. I plan on making another version entirely out of wood with the hinges better integrated into the design. The table is a little unstable (it works fine as a side table, but I wouldn’t want to eat on it), since there is no locking mechanism to hold it in position. On my next version I plan on adding some sort of lock to the bottom of the table.

Metal Jewel

posted in: Metal | 0


This jewel is made of 1/4″ steel rod that I gas welded together. I began by drafting the design in AutoCad.



The jewel is currently sitting on a bookshelf, but I plan to eventually turn it into a lamp because it makes awesome shadows.

Mathematical Emporium

posted in: Art, Crocheting, Math, Sewing, Wood | 0



This project was part of my senior seminar in Dramatic Arts at Centre College. I majored in both math and theatre at Centre and this was my attempt to combine my two favorite subjects into one project.

Although the brunt of the work occurred over one semester, I have always been interested in the intersection of mathematics and art. For me, math has an inherent aesthetic appeal. A well written proof not only has the intellectual beauty of a clearly expressed idea (which might only be accessible with some knowledge of the subject), but a physical presence on the page that can affect the viewer much like a painting.me_with_box_small

I often draw inspiration for my art projects from math. My work in the theatre (and art projects in general) is bolstered by my interest in mathematics. Obviously, an understanding of geometry helps me to be a better carpenter. And I think some proofs could go in an art gallery with no finessing. But on a more subtle level, I find myself associating my work to broad mathematical ideas. Mathematics has shaped the way I view the world and therefore the way I work.

This was a long-winded way of saying: math and art have never been disparate subjects to me. This project was my attempt to make this connection even more explicit. My approach was to make mathematical ideas and proofs into exciting and beautiful artistic expressions. While I had many ideas, this was the final pared down 30-minute presentation version of my ‘Mathematical Emporium’.


Using Diana Taimina’s book Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes, I created several crocheted planes. I also made a few hyperbolic planes made of paper. One of my goals with the presentation was to make complicated mathematical concepts accessible. I gave a brief explanation of hyperbolic space and its properties.

pythag_cropMy next piece was a folding wooden proof of the Pythagorean theorem. My final version was made from oak with ribbon for hinges. An early version is seen to the right. Inspiration for this proof came from the book How Round is Your Circle.

fib_cropMy final piece was a small quilt of the Fibonacci spiral. This famous mathematical illustration is a classic example of mathematics in art.

Tiny Bookshelf

posted in: Art, Recycled | 0

I’m going to try and keep a blog with my current art projects. I will slowly post older art projects that I’ve done over the past few years. For my first post, here is one of my favorite projects. It was a gift for my friend Paige, who loves books and hung out in the library with me a lot in college. I have always loved making miniature things, so these little books were super fun.


The tiny library is housed inside an Altoids tin with cedar shelves. All materials are recycled from what would have been trash. I made each book from cereal boxes and pages from an old book. The bindings were created by cutting out cardboard rectangles and carefully scoring the cardboard for the binding. The books are bound properly, so I made tiny little packets of pages, sewed them together and then glued several packets into the binding. The books can be opened and closed just like real books.



I painted each book with a base coat of acrylic paints. The gold and bronze details are enamel paint.



I’m really happy with the final result! Tiny books that are fully functional.