Zipper Fascination

There is something about zippers that fascinates me. I don’t sew, so it’s not the idea of clothing. In fact, it’s the idea of not clothing. I want to use zippers in journals, to connect pages, to close a journal, to make a box that zips shut.

I love the way zippers close, one tooth at a time. I love unusual zippers, like the one below that shuts by lining up rhinestones and linking them together like a connect-the-dots puzzle.

The other day, I went to SAS Fabrics–the fabric superstore warehouse on Indian School Road in Phoenix. You don’t go to SAS to enjoy luxury, you go to SAS to get inspired. If you are looking for something very specific, you might not find it. But if you are going to see what they have today, you’ll be happy.

Three-foot high boxes of bandanas in blue, yellow, red, pink and white, fabrics in colors that make your heart beat faster. . . and your eyes water. Stacked next to each other. A soft apricot with yellow highlights next to a ultra-violet so bright and shimmery it must have been made on another planet. Buttons, belts, straps with snaps in every color and material. Piles of lace, trim, braid, and bias tape. Rick-rack so big it looks like a silhouette of a mountain range.

And zippers. Boxes of them. The longest and shortest zippers I’ve ever seen. Metal and fabric, colors from faded to saturated, teeth big enough to close a dinosaur’s mouth and another one so tiny it could zip up a mouse’s lips. I have no idea what I’m going to do with my treasure, but I have enough to experiment. Because zippers also represent what’s hidden and what shows and the temptation in between.

What’s your fabric-store weakness? Variegated threads? Batik fabric? Netting? I bought two yards of sage green burlap with no idea what I’m going to do with it, but it seemed like something to own. I’m open to suggestions.

-Quinn McDonald doesn’t limit art journaling to paper. There are buttons, zippers, and papers waiting to be connected with stitching, sewing, and fusible webbing.

20 thoughts on “Zipper Fascination

  1. While I love all the fabrics and notions at fabric/sewing goods store, what really gets my juices flowing are the tools–not just the obvious, like pins and needles (though I have to admit to a “thing” for brass quilters’ safety pins–they’re brass because, unlike steel, they won’t rust if they get wet. I just like ’em because I think they’re pretty!), but scissors, really fine scissors can have me drooling. And, OMG, don’t get me started on sewing machines! But, I digress. The tools: some pincushions are works of art. Really, if I’m totally honest, I have to admit to being an addict of tools in general, as is my husband (he’s a retired industrial arts teacher). Mmmmmm, tools….

  2. I’ve seen pillows made with zippers and a stool upholstered in zippers, and I liked the look of both. I LOVE your idea to use zippers on journal pages…that had not occurred to me before. And I like your journal drawing unzipping temptation. I might do a similar page myself! (Why not substitute a real zipper for the drawn one?) Great ideas!

  3. I love going to the SAS stores! They are always an adventure and you can find all kinds of things you “need” for your art – even those of us who don’t sew can easily find armloads of goodies to add to our stash! I love introducing people to those stores and watching their eyes gloss over when we walk in!

  4. Another weakness, I love the non chain fabric stores like the place i nicknamed the Glitter Palace, in Houston. As a result the real name is lost to teh dead grey cells, though my directional self can drive me straight to it. It is owned by Vietnamese and has a room full of silks and exotic natural fabrics that take you to another place. Zippers are fascinating things have fun with them.

  5. Maybe I need to take an artist’s date to a fabric store today, or a book store, or a toy store, or an art store. It seems I’ve been hibernating, hiding from cold and cloudy weather. I think I need an excursion without a goal. Or maybe with a goal that ends up serendipitous…

    I LOVE the rhinestone zipper. Ooh la la!

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