How to sew bicycle tire tubes

I have found two great ways to sew bicycle tire tubes using a sewing machine.  You can either use a roller foot, or a walking foot.  With my old Kenmore machine, I used a walking foot.  And with my new Babylock machine I use a roller foot.  Either work great.  Before I got all fancy with different feet, I would tape parchment paper down and cut out room for the feed dogs, and also tape parchment paper underneath the foot.  This was such a nightmare.  The paper would rip, or the material would stick anyway, needles would break frequently, and the bobbin would jam.  Yuck!  The walking foot, or the rolling foot are not a huge investment, so if you find yourself wanting to make a cute wallet, messenger bag or hat from some popped bicycle tire tubes; I would skip the parchment paper, and go straight to the fancy feet.  It makes life so much easier when sewing unusual fabrics.  And it kinda makes you look like a bad ass 🙂

p.s it doesn’t ruin your machine!


Sunday I had the pleasure of welcoming the other artists into my studio space because I missed the Grande Tour last weekend. It was really terrific to get the support and conversation from my fellow pickers and it gave me the sense of purpose and belonging that I have felt has been absent from my work lately- not a bad thing just cycling through the process of creation and introspection, the ebb and flow of making.

We were also joined by a writer who will be contributing to the catalogue we intend to publish for the exhibition. Greg Stuart will be writing at least one essay that reflects on the themes he is starting to see emerging from our collective work, as well as adding pertinent contextual information to frame what it means to be exhibiting this kind of show. I’m really excited to have him and his perspective on board.

Something that he pointed out in my work was an ongoing theme of erasure. Several of my pieces exist as artifacts of a past state and I am actively employing the process of erasing in order to produce work.

I liken erasing to the act of throwing garbage away; an attempt to delete or remove history from existence. But this memory/object doesn’t go away, it is just transferred to another state. In the same way I felt a catharsis in erasing elements of my found work I think we also feel a catharsis when we discard those anchors to our past, a burden is removed or if not removed the responsibility is transferred to a second party.

Can you imagine all of the hurt and betrayal and decay that exists at the Arlington landfill? And if the landfill were an emotional repository what it must be like if you thought of the responsibility of carrying that load of burden? But Waste Management Industries is a corporation and in my opinion doesn’t have the capacity to feel or carry burdens, despite what some may want you to think about their personhood and for that I am grateful that WMI is a corporation and not a person.

Nor do I personify the equivalence of the object with the dearth of sorrow it could potentially contain, however I do understand the transference required to form relationships with objects and celebrate it when it becomes the catalyst for a benefactor or collector. But that relationship is different for many reasons. As makers we imbue, what Jen and Greg so eloquently referred to as the “bloodsweat”, into our work. Not only are we selecting objects for reincarnation we are loving and fighting with them trying to pull out more essence than the gesture in which they were originally created. We are creating value through our actions and the time we spend transforming them. In a sense I feel like we are taking other’s lemons and making a fabulous lemon soufflé. We are allowing the discarder the process of erasure while recognizing the beauty and potential of the erased piece.

Trash Talking Artist…A Salute to Lawrence!

Someone off-loaded several boxes of old record albums…”long play-high fidelity,” etc.  The album covers are quite inviting…big bold graphics and colors.  I’ve got a few ideas for ways to use them.  Once again, I went up to the guy in the truck, introducing myself as one of the five artist gleaners working at the dump (this is “NEVER” easy for me).  He was quite happy that someone had some use for them.  Quoting him, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  Little did he know that I was truly only interested in the covers.

I removed all the albums from their jackets/covers, leaving them in one of the “sharing bins” in our work corner.  Yes, I only took the covers.

I did, however, take one complete album (still wrapped in cellophane)…”Lawrence Welk 22 All Time Favorite Waltzes.” Who in their right mind isn’t still enjoying the old Lawrence Welk reruns on cable every weekend?   Admit it, aren’t we all once again longing for the days of a little champagne music, mixed with some  of Jo Ann Castle’s honkey tonk piano?  The Lennon Sisters?  Cissy and Bobby?  How many of you can hum along with Myron Floren (accordian) as he plays “Lady of Spain?”  Yes, folks….those were the days!  I’ve got the album…found it at the dump!!  Eat your heart out!

Black bird inspired dress

I’m about half way through the making of my next dress.  This dress is inspired by the lovely silhouette, texture, and intensity of black birds.

These are “feathers”  made out of bicycle tire tubes.  They’ve been cut, sewn, and patterened onto window screening- to be a short bustled dress.  The bustle is made out of bed springs!  It’s going to be haunting and wild 🙂

Studio Tour

This past Sunday the artists got together to do a grand studio tour.  We were all very anxious to see what each other was creating from our GLEANINGS.   I don’t know how everyone else was, but I was so exhausted after.  It was like being in a museum for 8 hours– but much more intimate.  I came home and crashed out for 2 hours before being able to dissect the awesomeness of the day.  It was an exquisite treat, having the luxury of peering behind the curtain at their creative process and learning where and how they all got to this point in their creative careers.  What most sticks out to me is the different themes of objects that the different artists are drawn to.  And as someone mentioned during the day, we all have a “thing” with repetition.  Very curious to see the common thread between all our very different disciplines.  The show in September promises to be extraordinary.  Can’t freaking wait!!!

Making Paper Beads

I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me for this one wearable garment.  I gleaned this beautifully aged dictionary.  The pages look almost rusted with age.  I’m delicately cutting them into varying strips of 1/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 3/4 inch and rolling them up.  After about a million of these, I’ll have enough beads to complete my dress.  Thank god for netflix 🙂

How to make paper beads all different shapes and sizes!  This is a tutorial I found online about different beads you can make using paper strips.  The girl in the photo has made hers from magazines.  Inspired.

Trash Talking Artist…”superficial appearances of art”



Kitsch (/ˈkɪtʃ/; loanword from German) is a form of art that is considered an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value. The concept is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icons[1] while making cheap mass-produced objects that are unoriginal. Kitsch also refers to the types of art that are aesthetically deficient (whether or not being sentimental, glamorous, theatrical, or creative) and that make creative gestures which merely imitate the superficial appearances of art through repeated conventions and formulae. Excessive sentimentality often is associated with the term.

The contemporary definition of kitsch is considered derogatory, denoting works executed to pander to popular demand alone and purely for commercial purposes rather than works created as self-expression by an artist.[2] The term is generally reserved for unsubstantial and gaudy works that are calculated to have popular appeal and are considered pretentious and shallow rather than genuine artistic efforts.[3]

The concept of kitsch is applied to artwork that was a response to the 19th century art with aesthetics that convey exaggerated sentimentality and melodrama, hence, kitsch art is closely associated with sentimental art.


I’m eager to see what new life might be breathed into this piece that was found last Saturday, and is now in the hands of Sarah!


cooookies anyone?

you guys are killin’ me with your posts! I haven’t updated for an eternity, or at least 3 garbage cycles…I guess recently I haven’t been struck in the way that my fellow gleaners have been, or rather I have been turning inward and keeping my musings to myself. We are at the turning point in our residency here, the ultimate judgment time where in we have to deliver two finished pieces as images to appear on the promotional postcard. This prospect has stymied me, as I am halting production and analyzing results- some of which I am happy with but others that I want more development to manifest. I sit in my studio full of discarded textures and bones haunted by the idea that what I need to make should have some sort of resounding impact on the everyday viewer. I want you to see potential and transformation, the sullied underbody of decay as something to sit within, the object-ghosts of our past as harnessed energy.

That said, the thing that clung to my nose hairs last week was the smell I was experiencing. The tipping floor smelled like every other mall that you’ve walked around in. It was the combination of Aunt Salty’s Awesome pretzels with a distinct overtone of chocolate chip cookie ice cream waffle cone bliss. I swear to god there were vaporizers pumping this smell onto the garbage because I didn’t smell the rancid bacterial putrescence one normally smells on the tipping floor and aside from the completely funny combination of ketchup and a recently evacuated bodega (complete with piñatas and hot peppers) every thing smelled consumable, even palatable. I gotta ask, is the tipping floor being sanitized for our noses? And further more, to smell like a mall? If so why? If not, I got to experience a way weird moment in which everything that we discard existed in the same olfactory state in which we purchased it, which strikes me as bizarre but makes sense when I consider I felt like I had to consume all the goods and ended up leaving the transfer station with my second largest haul; 160lbs of potential material. Thanks mall smell, you win again.