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Arts, Crafts & Stunning Pottery Made Using Fabric

Updated on September 29, 2013
drmiddlebrook profile image

Dr. Middlebrook is a fiction/non-fiction writing coach, author (pen name Beax Rivers), virtual trainer, and former university professor.

Fabric-wrapped cording pottery, by Sherrill Andrea.
Fabric-wrapped cording pottery, by Sherrill Andrea. | Source
Fabric pottery by Sherrill Andrea.
Fabric pottery by Sherrill Andrea. | Source

A Ceramic Picasso?

Although the decorative arts (which includes arts and crafts) is usually associated with self-taught artisans and folk artists, history has recorded that some very well-known artistic legends have also dabbled in this area. According to an article on buzzle.com, Pablo Picasso actually produced some of his fine paintings onto ceramics. Huh? Who knew?

Creative Artisan, Sherrill Andrea

Sherrill Andrea is a creator of beautiful things. She is an artist and an artisan: Someone gifted with artistic talent, who also enjoys arts and crafts. Her abilities have brought her to what she is doing now--creating stunning works of art by blending together artistic talents and arts and crafts skills, with her genuine affinity for working with fabric. An expert in quilting, Sherrill teaches three different types of craft classes at Quilter's Emporium in Stafford, Texas. There, she teaches and inspires her students to work with fabric to make beautiful things, including: Fabric wrapped clothesline cord sewn into pottery; fabric vases, the making of which utilizes a separate technique, and fabric Christmas trees and Christmas ornaments.

Sherrill has been creating things of beauty since childhood, but has only been crafting using fabric for about three years.

"I grew up in a little town where there was no such thing as arts," she said during a recent interview. "I had no idea it was something to be studied or even that I might have skills or talent in that direction. Other than two quilting classes, I've never had any formal art instruction, but I've always wanted to draw and to paint. I never thought it was possible, however, because I've always viewed my stick people drawings as horrendous!"

Sherrill's work took home blue ribbon wins from  the Fort Bend County Fair!
Sherrill's work took home blue ribbon wins from the Fort Bend County Fair! | Source

Self-Discovered Artistic Talent ...

Sherrill was able to get beyond her own opinion of her work so that she could try her hand at both drawing and painting. She was surprised with the outcome of her adventure. "I took a pencil drawing class for about three months and astonished myself!" she said. "The same with acrylic painting classes. I was very satisfied with the end results, even though I found it very tedious. And while drawing and painting is not something I would just sit down and do for my own pleasure, now I know I do have some talent in these areas."

"Some talent" is right. After entering some of her drawings and a painting into a competition sponsored by the Fort Bend County Fair, Sherrill and her work walked away with some pretty impressive blue ribbons.

Fabric-wrapped cording pitcher made by Sherrill Andrea.
Fabric-wrapped cording pitcher made by Sherrill Andrea. | Source

Clothesline Arts & Crafts

Depending on the colors and types of fabric used, corded clothesline creations can make it look like you've been on an "around the world" shopping trip. You can display hand-made room décor accents, including bowls, baskets, coasters, placemats, magazine holders, and more, awesomely beautiful things that are one of a kind. The process used to make fabric-clothesline arts and crafts? You will need:

  • Cotton clothesline
  • A sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Thread or hot glue (depending on the project)
  • Fabric

Crafting Tools and Techniques ...

Crafts are items that are made by hand. They can have a functional purpose, be made for decoration only, or, they can be made just for the fun and activity of making something with your own hands.

Artisans who create crafts have a variety of different tools and techniques at their disposal, and they can use them in many different ways to create their masterpieces. Many of these artisans enjoy working with materials such as glass, metal, wood, clay, or fiber. But what about fabric? What about when fabric is the material of choice? Can it also be used by the artisan to make beautiful and enduring arts and crafts? The answer to this question is a resounding "Yes!" Other than her paintings and drawings, Artisan Sherrill Andrea used fabric to make each and every one the arts and crafts items you see in this Hub.

This photo helps emphasize the attention to detail in Sherrill's creations.
This photo helps emphasize the attention to detail in Sherrill's creations. | Source

Beautiful Arts & Crafts Require Time & Patience ...

If you look closely, you can see from observing the level of detail and design involved in Sherrill's creations, that crafting with clothesline requires patience. But if you have it--plus the desire to create things of beauty that you can keep or give away as gifts, then you'll love this method of producing arts and crafts. The process involves wrapping cotton clothesline using the fabric of your choice (Sherrill says batiks are an excellent fabric to use!). Your choice of materials and color can inspire you to make things that are fun and funky, or classy and sophisticated!

More beautiful fabric pottery.
More beautiful fabric pottery. | Source

Working on arts and crafts projects, for Sherrill, is a hobby. "Although I like being lazy," she said, "I still need to do something with my hands which in turn works my mind. Some of my earliest memories are of creating arts and crafts projects, or helping or watching my mother with her arts and crafts creations. My first purposeful creation, as a kid, was making gifts for people using pipe-cleaners."

Sherrill says it sometimes take days of analyzing and trying different things for her to feel right about something she is creating. "When it finally feels right, then I can continue," she said. "I might have a visual in my head but translating [what's there] doesn't always work, and my creations come out completely different than what was in my head. But it 'feels' right."

More of Sherrill's corded "pottery" creations.
More of Sherrill's corded "pottery" creations. | Source

More on Making Corded Clothesline Projects ...

Patience is a prerequisite for making corded-line projects, because the process calls for lots and lots of alternating between wrapping the clothesline, and then for sewing the coils. Using cotton cord is best, because it's soft, yet strong and durable. That means the items you'll make will last. The best part is, it's easy to sew, you can use any colors you want, and you get to make interesting and beautiful and projects, from fashion accessories (such as totes/handbags) to home décor with lots of character.

Self-Taught in Creative Crafts ...

"When it comes to drawing, painting, or even my arts and crafts," she said, "I guess you could say I'm 'self-taught.' Depending on how you define it. Generally, I will see something in a book, or hear someone talking about an idea, or I might run upon an idea while surfing the Internet, and then I will recreate something I've seen or heard about. Sometimes what I do is original in that I don't have instructions beforehand, and I have to work out how to implement what I'm making, into a real piece. Other times, I'm following instructions, which usually I modify to my way of creating."

What Inspires Sherrill's Creativity?

According to Sherrill, she is inspired, primarily, by two things, "Other people's creativity and my own boredom. That's what inspires me most," she said.

When I asked what keeps her motivated to create, she said, "My aversion to boredom is what keeps me motivated to continue doing what I do, as well as other people's appreciation of my work."


Using fabric to add vibrant splashes of color makes Sherrill's corded pottery creations stand out, no matter where they're placed.
Using fabric to add vibrant splashes of color makes Sherrill's corded pottery creations stand out, no matter where they're placed. | Source
Sherrill's corded pottery wins prizes too!
Sherrill's corded pottery wins prizes too! | Source
The beauty of a corded-fabric bowl.
The beauty of a corded-fabric bowl. | Source

Having lived in several different states and having worked in several different careers has probably influenced, in a good way, what Sherrill has in her mind's eye to draw upon as an artist. Born in Kansas, Sherrill started school in Oklahoma, then her family moved to California for one year before moving to Wyoming. After getting her associate's degree from business school, she worked as a secretary, briefly, before moving into the insurance industry. While working in that industry full time, she studied on her own to get licenses to sell home, auto and commercial insurance. She has a "green thumb" too, and has worked taking care of plants.

Her desire to help others has led Sherrill to do quite a bit of volunteer work over the years. In fact, she worked as a volunteer for the Literacy Council of Fort Bend County, and that led to her coming on staff there, which is where she was working when I met her.

"In the past," she said, "I've done volunteer work leading teenagers working on community projects, I've done office work at Center for the Blind, served as an English speaking guest to French classes learning English, and I've done tutoring of English as second language. I've also done volunteer work for a local library."

Currently, in addition to creating beautiful works of art through her crafts, Sherrill is also a volunteer working to help out a community donations garden.

One of Sherrill's many lovely quilt creations.
One of Sherrill's many lovely quilt creations. | Source
A sizable creation, stunning in red.
A sizable creation, stunning in red. | Source

From Quilting to Crafting ...

"After making a total of about 30 quilts for family," Sherrill said, "I decided I wanted to make something that didn't take 40 hours to complete. One day, while browsing in a quilt shop, I saw the book Sewing Pottery by Machine which I purchased. That was the beginning of my new craft. It was so exciting to me, I thought others might like to know about it too. On a whim, I took some of the things I'd made to the same quilt shop where I purchased the book, and I asked if they would be interested in me teaching a class there. The owner of the shop, Roseanne, liked the idea, even though she didn't know me or my skills. She took a chance on me, and neither of us have looked back. The classes have been successful for both of us and the feedback from students is great."

Sherrill's creative "fabric" Christmas trees.
Sherrill's creative "fabric" Christmas trees. | Source

As we ended our talk, I asked what might the future hold for her and her arts, crafts, and fabric creations. "I'm happy teaching classes," she responded, "and I get great satisfaction from seeing other people as excited as I am about creating. In the past, I've taken my work to craft fairs, but I don't find it enjoyable. It requires a lot of product that may or may not sell, then I'm faced with what to do with it if it doesn't. Of course I'm always interested in taking orders from people who might want to purchase some of my creations. I've considered selling products online, on sites like Etsy.com. I'm still exploring the idea of ways to sell online, including creating my own arts and crafts website."

© 2013 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD

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    • drmiddlebrook profile image
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      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 3 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you Ilona for your visit and for those uplifting words. This artist (a friend of mine) always creates work that is done so meticulously and beautifully, I had to show it off on Hub Pages. It is always great to find out that it has been an inspiration to someone.

    • Ilona1 profile image

      Ilona 3 years ago from Ohio

      This beautiful look at these arts and crafts and their artists was so inspiring. I've never paid much attention to this types of craft before- now I'm intrigued.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 3 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thanks so much for visiting Jackie Lynnley. Always a pleasure to get a read and comments from you. I agree, these are lovely creations. My friend is a very creative person who loves doing this, and she'll be glad to know she's inspiring people with her creations.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is beautiful, I would love to learn to do these. Thanks for sharing.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thanks for the visit MarleneB. I agree, it is a wonderful thing discovering what you really want to do with your time, instead of just letting the world and its demands (and commands) dictate it for you. Sherrill Andrea marches to the beat of her own drum, and in the process, creates stunningly beautiful artwork using simple things.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      It's wonderful what we discover we can do once we get our self-inflicted inhibitions out of the way. These pieces are absolutely gorgeous! I'm really amazed at how much beauty can be created with a clothesline, fabric, thread, and glue.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you Jaya Sanghita for sharing. I'll check out some of the pottery you mentioned, and the comparison is a beautiful compliment.

    • Jaya Sanghita profile image

      Sanghita Chatterjee 4 years ago from Kolkata

      This is one of the most amazing crafts I have come across! The shapes of the fabric pottery remind me of Mata Ortiz pottery from Mexico - a small pueblo (village) which revolutionized the concept of ceramics all over the world by using their indigenous reserves which includes soft hair of children for making paint brushes! Amazing work! Keep it up!!

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thanks oldiesmusic. You and me, and lot of other folk too, are amazed by pottery created using fabric. Just another way to make something beautiful, that will last for a long time (and you can't accidentally break it!).

    • oldiesmusic profile image

      oldiesmusic 4 years ago from United States

      I never thought that fabrics can also be used for pottery. It's amazing! :)

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you so much, prasetio30. It is always my goal to create Hubs that offer learning opportunities, as well as interesting ideas and entertainment. I agree with you about the photography. It was done, well, by Sherrill Andrea, the same person who made all the beautiful arts and crafts creations. Thanks for the vote up!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Beautiful art creations. I learn many things here, nice pictures as well. Thanks for sharing with us. Voted up :-)

      Prasetio

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you so much KoffeeKlatch Gals. I agree! Sherrill Andrea is extraordinarily talented.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      These creations are awesome. Each one is more beautiful than the next.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you so much, MsDora! I agree. Sherrill's work is so well done, it's just something special to look at. She's also a great photographer! I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub. I really enjoyed putting it together.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      What beautiful creations! Sherrill Andrea is an inspiration and so are you for introducing her. Thank you.

    • drmiddlebrook profile image
      Author

      Sallie B Middlebrook PhD 4 years ago from Texas, USA

      Thank you so much ChitrangadaSharan, for your visit and for sharing with me about your interest in arts and crafts. I hope when you create your fabric art, you'll publish a story on Hub Pages. I would love to see your creations, and I'm sure they're going to be beautiful and creative too!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      These are wonderful art and craft pieces, so very creative!

      I can understand the amount of patience and hard work, that must have gone through, in creating these beautiful pieces.

      I have lot of interest in art and craft and I enjoy creating art pieces and I am definitely going to try these, with fabric of course.

      Voted up and thanks!