I guess it’s safe to say I’ve always been a creative sort. One of the first projects I remember making (with Mom’s guidance, of course – I was 4 years old) was a piggy bank out of a plastic bleach container. My brother and I cut out pictures of cars from magazines and pasted them to the exteriors. (It’s actually not the first project I recall. The first project was drawing on the wall with crayons. I don’t recall the actual drawing, but I do recall the scrubbing…)
I saved every coin I received in that piggy bank. My brother… suffice it to say, he did not. Sometime later – and we’re talking a few years of savings - my brother treated his friends to a trip to “Tom’s Cash Market”, our local convenience store, where he and his friends filled up on candy and soda at the same time they emptied the contents of my piggy bank…
Coupled with this creativity, I’ve also always been fascinated by spinning things. Though I predate the advent of the “fidget spinner” by several decades (it hasn’t escaped me, by the way), my “fidget spinner” was a wooden top or a wooden yo-yo. From spinning tops, to yo-yos to the gyroscopic inertia created by the rotation of the wheels on a bicycle or a coin spinning on its edge, I still become completely transfixed.
When, as a child, I learned that I could combine my creativity with my fascination for all things spinning to create “spin art” by squirting paint onto a rotating piece of paper – you can guess that I was immediately captivated - and quite easily entertained.
As a young adult, I lived in Westwood Village near UCLA. In the Village, there was a great arcade with all sorts of pinball machines and state-of-the-art electronic games like Centipede, Galaga and PacMan (I know – I date myself…). I could keep myself entertained for hours for a few dollars in quarters.
Next to the arcade was this outdoor shop that specialized in… spin art on clothing… Well, couple my love for fashion with spin art and they’d devised the perfect hook for a customer like me! I didn’t indulge often (it felt expensive at the time), but I did indulge my inner creative chaos a few times.
Most notably, I recall the size of the contraption in which you would mount your garment. Now that I think of it, it was likely a large circular, aluminum water trough – perhaps 4 feet in diameter. In the middle was a platform on which the garment would be mounted. Someone would deliver textile paints in squeeze bottles. Then, they’d flip a switch and you’d become the mad scientist of spin art for a few minutes, an alchemical process of spinning fabric mixing with paints and flying through space – what’s not to love?!
As an older adult who indulges his creative processes by dabbling with fabrics and dyes and bleaches and all sorts of tinctures (some successful, some not so successful), it occurred to me that I could create some pretty cool spin art fabric pieces. And… if I incorporated them into useful projects like quilts I could easily justify my neuroses. Et voila! I have done just that.
Not only was it fun for me, but it was also fun for my 8-year old son, and kept him busy for a couple of hours. (If you are a parent, 2 hours of focused entertainment not otherwise in front of a screen is priceless!) It will keep me busy a bit longer…
Click here to view the detailed project instructions to create your own spin art quilt!
Learn more about Baby Lock quilting machines here.