the artful bag challenge

Welcome to The Artful Bag Challenge! A year long art challenge I created to bring together artists who share a love for bags. Why bags you ask? Well quite simply...I love them! Particularly carpet bags which I suspect happened after I first saw the image of Mary Poppins flying over London, umbrella in one hand and a fabulous carpet bag in the other. I've fallen in love with many other bags since. Grandma Aggie's temperamental bag from Halloweentown and Nicole Kidman's witchy carpet bag from the movie Bewitched. And who could forget Aunt Clara's enchantingly shabby old bag from the Bewitched TV series, filled with doorknobs of every kind? I also love Mary Frances bags. Particularly the highly embellished little evening ones that are really works of art. Many of them remind me of vintage opera bags.

This January marked my 1 year blogging anniversary so I thought I would celebrate by creating my own art challenge. I wanted to combine what I learned and love from the challenges I joined this past year. Then I added a little twist and I hope what I came up with is something fun, inspiring and delightfuly challenging for everyone.

How it works:

There are 4 rotating themes. One for each month. By the end of the year we will have worked on each theme 3 times.

Theme One: Playing with Paper
This was inspired by the wonderful paper dress challenge at Alice and Camilla. Create a bag template from your paper of choice. Scrapbook, vintage music sheets, book pages, etc. The size is completely up to you. Decorate and embellish your bag however you like. Paint, glitter, lace, fabric...whatever inspires you.

Theme Two: Altered Art
Here you will create a decorative bag from any object that isn't already a bag. Cereal boxes, cigar boxes, jars, pudding cups, match boxes, wooden plaques....the sky's the limit. This is purely decorative so it doesn't have to open like a real bag although it can if you like. No digital entries please but you are welcome to print digital designs to use on your altered piece. This is a fun way to try different altering techniques.

Theme Three:  Embellish It
My guess is many of you have dozens of bags just sitting in your closet that you've forgotten about. Or maybe you like to visit thrift shops like I do and look for vintage bags you can re purpose. For this challenge we will take an existing bag and make it fabulous. It can be as simple as adding a pin or you can cover your bag with anything from vintage lace, rosettes, silk, felted and paper flowers or any piece of art. I love trim, beads and anything sparkly. They also don't have to be permanent. You can pin or baste them on your bag then change them with the seasons. Do you sew? If you've sewn or felted your own bags you can share them here too.

I'd also like to add that you can use coin purses here too (the traditional framed ones that look like mini bags). There are lots of adorable ones out there.

Theme Four: ATC Swap
For those of you that have never created or swapped ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) this is a good way to try it out. You will only need to do 3 throughout the year. An ATC is 2 1/2w x 3 1/2h. Usually card stock or paper but doesn't have to be. You can use the image of a bag, the word 'bag' or words about bags. Or show someone holding a bag. Whatever you desire as long as the main theme is about bags!

For this theme I will have anyone interested in swapping email me on the 1st of the month and I will assign swap partners by the 5th. Have your ATC postmarked by the 20th (or sooner) and your swap partner's card (and yours) posted on your blog by the 25th. Simple, fun and a great way to make new friends!

If you are not able to swap but would still like to create an ATC, you can 'share' one by posting it on your blog on the 25th also. This way everyone can still participate and enjoy creating an ATC card.

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Here is the challenge schedule for 2011:

January - Theme 1: Playing with Paper
February - Theme 2: Altered Art
March - Theme 3: Embellish It
April - Theme 4: ATC Swap (Sign up by emailing me no later than April 4)

May - Theme 1: Playing with Paper
June - Theme 2: Altered Art
July - Theme 3: Embellish It
August - Theme 4: ATC Swap (Sign up by emailing me no later than August 4)

September - Theme 1: Playing with Paper
October - Theme 2: Altered Art
November - Theme 3: Embellish It
December - Theme 4: ATC Swap (Sign up by emailing me no later than Dec 4)

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Each month I'll post my project on or around the 1st and you can add a link to your bag post via the Linky tool. Each challenge is open the entire month.

There is no commitment to play every month but I hope you will if you can. I know sometimes life just happens. It is a challenge to push ourselves to try new things but the whole point is also to have fun while doing it. Since this is a monthly challenge anyone can join up anytime during the year and catch up or just play along for the rest of the year.

Below is a button to display on your blog to show you're participating. Just save and add a link to this page.  Or you can copy and paste the code located at the top of my right sidebar.

If you have any questions at anytime please feel free to email me.
I'm looking forward to seeing your fabulous artful bag!