I first ran across Pamela when I featured her vintage wares in a Friday Roundup a few weeks ago. Little did I know she is also an avid green crafter! Pamela makes amazing tote bags, gift tags, and banners out of fused plastic bags and was kind enough to answer my 5 questions.
1. Tell me about how you got started crafting.
It really all began when I was eight years old. My mother put me into a 4-H sewing class, and for the next four or five summers I was required to complete a project that would then be entered it into the county fair. Over the years I have sewn for myself, my daughters and relatives creating garments, home decor, dolls, stuffed animals, etc.
In the fall of 2007 I was suddenly jobless and began to look to the internet for some sewing inspiration. In January of 2008 I stumbled onto a picture of a tote bag made by Betz White out of fused plastic. I was amazed that someone could create such a useful item from plastic bags, things that we throw away by the millions everyday. Betz provided a link to a video tutorital. The tutorial was actually created by the Etsy team. (This was my first exposure to Etsy and I was intrigued. However, at the time it never occur ed to me that one day I would have not one, but two Etsy shops.) After watching the tutorial I just knew that if I worked at it I too could make a tote bag like Betz. I did make a tote bag very similar to the one Betz had made and now I was hooked. Before I knew it I was using my sewing skills to create other items out of the fused plastic. Every so often I would show a friend what I had made and I was surprised at how much they ooohed and awed. I began to experiment with the fused plastic material I created and found that I could construct just about anything out of it that I could from fabric. So, I started saving plastic bags, plastic food wrappers, and any type of plastic wrap that I thought I could use in a project. In June of 2009 I opened the Etsy shop, “The Only Girl.” It’s been slow and honestly I haven’t been pushing it, but I do have my work on display and for sale at the local art gallery in my town. Most of my sales have been through friends and by word of mouth.
2. What draws you to eco-friendly materials?
There is so much waste in our country, when there should not be. I want to believe that what I am doing with discarded plastic bags will someday be the norm, that we would never think of throwing out perfectly good things that could be put to use another way. There is an undescribable and rewarding satisfaction that one gets when they can reuse, recycle and reincarnate something that isn’t brand new.
3. What inspires you?
I love sewing blogs with beautiful pictures, free patterns and great tutorials. Also, fashion, home decor, and magazines geared to featuring vintage, eco-friendly, and green living.
4. Who are your crafty heroes?
Betz White, Heather Bailey and Amy Butler, just to name a few.
5. Where can folks find your work?
theonlygirl.etsy.com and GOLA (Gallery of Local Art) in Flagler Beach, FL.
Are you an eco-friendly crafter? If you’d like to be interviewed as part of the 5 Questions series, just contact me!
Hi there! My name is Becky Striepe (pronounced “stree-pee,” like “sleepy”), and I am a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. My life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Check out my new book: 40 Days of Green Smoothies!