Showcasing the Arts


March 2014 Featured Artist: Amanda Clark


Amanda Clark sewing catywumpus bags in 
    her studio.Sometimes when people ask me why I started making purses, I tell them that it's all just an elaborate excuse to buy fabric, and we share a laugh. But I'm not completely joking. Fabric shopping is an event that I look forward to and get excited about.

When I shop, I see hundreds of bolts of fabric, hundreds of patterns and hundreds of different combinations of colors. But there will be usually be one bolt, maybe more than one if I'm lucky, that will lure me. I'll be touching it before I'm aware that my hand has reached out. The texture will be fantastic. The quality will be good. The scale will be correct. The colors will be attractive. The pattern will make me smile. I will feel a need to own that fabric. I buy it because, if I love it, the purse I make out of it will be loved by others.

What will I make out of it? That is a question answered after drawing designs, folding and cutting paper, and sewing prototypes made of scraps until I have created a pattern I love. The pattern will be transferred onto cardboard, or better yet Plexiglas so I can see the fabric underneath it. I will find the best placement for my pattern, which takes a good eye. This big flower or those three small flowers? The mostly green part or the mostly blue? Should the focal point be centered or slightly off center for interest? When it is perfectly placed, only then will I cut my fantastic fabric find.

Cutting out the pattern is only step one! There is felt lining to be attached for structure, and a zipper to be installed using a domestic sewing machine for precision and a pretty stitch. The flat fabric pieces must be assembled into a three dimensional shape with clever seams. The fabric handles are attached using an industrial sewing machine which can sew through all the thick layers. I might be done at that point, but usually I will get out my jewelry making supplies and attach a coordinating bead and wire zipper pull to give the purse an extra touch of pizzazz.

It is gratifying to see each creation finished. It is even more gratifying to see many creations finished and displayed together. I love to see all the wonderful fabrics I shopped for, all transformed into artful, yet functional purse designs, and arranged prettily for people to see and touch. They will be lured by a particular purse. They will touch it before they realize their hand has reached out. They will smile and say, "Your fabrics are fantastic! How did you get started sewing purses?"

Amanda Clark
Cattyumpas Bags

Paducah, Ky.

Telephone: 502-693-6250


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