Whilst recently perusing an issue of Embroidery magazine in my university library (yes, really), I came across an article about Leigh Bowser, a super talented embroidery artist who makes ultra rad pop icon brooches in her Etsy shop. On investigating her work further, I found that she also runs an ongoing campaign / exhibition called The Blood Bag Project, which raises awareness for Diamond Blackfan Anaemia. Anyone can take part in the exhibition and since I am not monetarily blessed I thought this was a really fun and unique way to contribute to a worthy cause, so I did:
I liked the idea of trying to make the bag look like a real transfusion bag and then filling it with different textured textiley things which represented the blood; I used ribbons, wire, lace, foam hearts, fake flowers, fabric scraps, shaped sequins and handmade cords, I also made cords and braided them together to make the 'tube' which hangs down under the bag. These were made from yarn, some shiny, slippery embroidery thread I'd struggled to actually embroider with and some metallic gold embroidery thread.
For the outside of the bag I used my anatomical heart motif which I had printed onto paper for a previous uni project, based on a similar concept. The heart is one of my favourite things I've done so far and it seemed very fitting to include it here where blood is a theme, so I stitched the paper hearts to the outside of my blood bag (one on each side). I'd never really sewn into plastic much before and luckily I chose a plastic which was very easy to work with; after considering a few options I cut up one of those plastic protective sleeves from a 12" record. It was very pliable and forgiving, although I didn't dare run it through my sewing machine and decided to opt for hand stitching instead. For certain projects I prefer the look of hand stitching over machine anyway; although it takes much longer, there is something I find aesthetically pleasing about a neatly hand-sewn item, not to mention the therapeutic nature of hand sewing!
Some detail shots:
I am quite pleased with how the bag turned out and had a lot of fun making it - although of course I keep stumbling across more materials I wish I'd put inside! That may be my excuse to make another one sometime... hopefully one day I'll also get to see the full exhibition in the flesh!
You can see more beautiful and creative contributions to The Blood Bag Project on the tumblr site