For my upcycling project I want to create something I’ll actually end up using that also has a strong aesthetic. For products like this I usually look for historical or traditional examples. Oftentimes objects with strong tradition have elaborate rules for decoration, but also are rooted in purpose. Using new materials in conjunction with old ideas is one of my favorite things in design.
I started by thinking of a material, one I’ve seen used well before in clothing upcycling projects is plastic shopping bags. When layers of them are ironed together, they create a strong material with a unique texture. All while utilizing something made to be thrown away. Then I thought of what I might want to make out of it. Something I don’t already have that I will use often. During this time my disposable tobacco pouch was looking especially worn down and I figured I could make a new one with some upgraded features.
Next came the aesthetic, I simply googled ‘historical tobacco pouches’ and was rewarded with some interesting designs from the Civil War era, and more visually interesting Native American and Japanese designs. I considered my material, layers of possibly different colored bags. and found that it would be most practical to recreate the Japanese aesthetic of larger color blocks representing images than the fringed, beaded Native American design.
I should be able to leverage the plastic layers to create a nice Japanese inspired pouch using old shopping bags.
bretgaunt, Author: et al. “Native American Tobacco Pouches.” Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, 20 Jan. 2023, https://buxtonmuseumandartgallery.wordpress.com/2022/04/29/native-american-tobacco-pouches/.
“Japanese Meiji Tobacco Pouch with Netsuke Ojime Dragons.” Antiques, Art, Vintage, https://www.goantiques.com/japanese-meiji-tobacco-1400309.
“Japanese Tobacco Pouch with Kagamibuta Netsuke.” Clars Auction Gallery, https://live.clars.com/lots/view/1-1F4X7W/japanese-tobacco-pouch-with-kagamibuta-netsuke.
“Tobacco Pouch or Sweet Bag.” – Works – New-York Historical Society, https://emuseum.nyhistory.org/objects/30110/tobacco-pouch-or-sweet-bag.