As a fabric artist who strives to make her work look old, worn and deliciously weathered, I have gotten pretty creative through the years with ways to accomplish said weathering. From burning, to coffee-staining to simply leaving it out in the elements. But I have one trick that I can't really take credit for, but I take advantage of it just the same. I have a dog who loves fabric as much as I do. She's a funny little part Corgi, part terrier (and even a little Lab) named Fiona, "Fi" as we call her. She has spent her life (all 5 years of it) lovingly by my side, which means she's a studio hound.
We got Fiona from my sister when she was 4 months old. The first time we left her alone to go out to dinner she experienced rather extreme separation anxiety and basically ate the slipcovers off the sofa in my studio. If you've watched my HGTV segment in the video section of my website, you have seen this lovely sofa with fabric covers designed by yours truly. The scene below is what we came home to that evening. We called it a Fi-asco. My poor Chocolate Lab, Josie, was traumatized.
Thus began Fiona's love affair with fabric. Whenever she wanted to play tug she would snatch a piece of fabric from by piles. If she needed a nap, her place of preference was usually the cubes in my studio where I stored my fabrics.
Then she got particular and I got my secret weapon. She began selecting, and yes I mean actually looking through the fabrics and choosing the one that caught her eye. The beloved fabric of the hour became the fabric of the month. She took it everywhere with her. Up the stairs, down the stairs, out into the yard. She played with it, slept with it and generally adored it.
At the end of the love affair of threads, she would suddenly abandon it and select another. What she left behind was a tattered, hole-filled, frayed and funky piece of cloth. Now what do you suppose I could do with THAT? Perhaps wash it, coffee-stain it and turn it into art? You betcha! My studio assistant came across one of Fiona's Fabulous Fabrics in my stash one day and said admiringly, "I like this piece. It's so old." I swear Fiona looked at me and winked.