1 Sep 2014

craft corner: how to make a thing in an uncertain number of steps

As a sequel to the beach trip that left me with a bowl of idle sea glass on my kitchen table, today I finally did something with that sea glass. And I made a handy guide so that you too can make a thing if you have a bowl of sea glass and the other things I used and nothing better to do.

Step 1: get an embroidery hoop. The bigger the better in this case I think, unless you have something against that. I don't know your life, this is a judgement call you have to make for yourself.

Step 2: get some cotton. You could use string and this would probably be a much easier craft project but I wanted it to look spider-webby so I used pale grey cotton.
You can pose it inside the embroidery hoop for a minute before you start like I did if you want but it's not mandatory. None of this is mandatory. Go outside if you want; your life is your own.

Small intermediary step that doesn't seem worth numbering: take the inside hoop out of the other slightly bigger hoop and work on that one because it's just better that way.

Step 3: proceed as though making a dreamcatcher by looping the cotton/string/entrails of your defeated enemies around the inner hoop, then going around again and looping it through the first row of loops. Continue to do this until the hoops and loops are making your head swim, or until you finish.
 Lo, a beautiful web. Onwards.

Step 4: root through your bowl of sea glass for ages trying to find what you think are the best bits, then begin trying to wind cotton around them while you say "fuck" a lot. You might think the swearing is optional but you'll quickly discover it isn't. Sea glass is very resistant to being tied up in this fashion.

Step 5: get fed up with the previous step and start experimenting with a kind of weaving technique whereby you basically stitch across the web and then trap the sea glass in between the threads. This will seem like a really great idea and you'll be very pleased with yourself for a while until you try and lift it up and all the bits fall out. Say "fuck" a bit more. Make a cup of tea and scowl at the stupid thing.

Step 6: decide to stop buggering about with all the thread and blob a lot of glue on the pieces of glass.
Step 7: forget that you were supposed to be photographing the process and just go straight on to steps 8, 9 and 10 which are: attach the previously cotton-bound bits of sea glass to the bottom curve of the hoop, thus rendering them not as pointless as you thought; replace the inner hoop in the outer hoop and trim the straggly cotton ends; attach a length of ribbon to the top for hanging purposes, if indeed you plan to hang it up and not just gaze at it questioningly, seeing it only as the symbol of an afternoon you will never get back.
NB It's very important that you do all of this without waiting for the glue to dry so that when you get to step 11 (photographing the final product) you can see the glue splodges through the glass. This really adds to the professional feel of the thing.
 There you have it, a thing in just 11(?) easy-to-follow steps. Makes a perfect gift for someone, probably.

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