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A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas

 

For the last few years I've been collecting and selling vintage spun cotton crafts, some of them antique.  I love the simplicity of the material, and all the unique ways it can be transformed.  The old-world craft has seen a resurgence in popularity lately, and folks are working with cotton in some really imaginative ways. It's gone way beyond Christmas.  I've got big plans this year to work with some newly made spun cotton shapes, and so I've dug out a bunch of pictures of my vintage pieces for inspiration.  Thought you'd like to see them too!  

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas 

Cotton ornaments have their origins in 19th century Germany. Originally, shapes would have been made from cotton batting that was hand-molded around wire forms.  Later, they would be made on a lathe with molds to form tightly spun shapes.  During the Victorian era your Christmas tree would be trimmed in cotton fruits and fanciful Dresden paper shapes.  (The thought of lighting a paper and cotton-laden tree with candles gives me chills, but I'm sure the sight was enchanting.)  

  A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas   

This year I'm going to make some fruit decorations inspired by these older ones.  I love the crystalline mica over a bright painted colors.  Some fruits were plaster-dipped before being painted to give them a smooth surface.  

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas  A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas   

By the turn of the 20th century, Russia and Eastern Europe were also producing some terrific cotton crafts.  This little clown is a hand-built figure:  

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas 

Mushrooms are a symbol of luck in Germany - Gluckspilz.  You know how much I love little mushrooms!!  

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideascotton5 cotton13A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas   

Some of my favorite spun cotton ornaments are bell shapes:  

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and IdeasA Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and IdeasA Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and IdeasA Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and IdeasA Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas   
Bells on a tinsel garland - this would be fun to make, too.
 
A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas   
This past Christmas I had spun cotton snowballs on my tree, and I loved how they looked.  
A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas 
After WWII, Japan started mass-manufacture of some really fun and complex designs which incorporated spun cotton shapes with pipe cleaners, celluloid, and paper components.  I love ALL of them.  
A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas 
These guys have spun cotton bodies and feet.  Such great colors too!  And, ooh, shiny foil!  
A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas 
These choir boy decorations are so unique.  Spun cotton heads, felt robes, wooden peg bodies, and little cardboard stands.  This would be a fun Christmas project, and really very simple.  

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas 

These Shiny Brite angels have spun cotton heads, and cardboard bodies:  

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas

  Do you wanna build a spun cotton snowman? I certainly do.

 A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and IdeasA Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas 

Here are some cotton batting crafts.  They are really just made out of thick chunks of cotton with cuts in a few places to give it shape.  

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas 

The ribbon strips on this Santa keep him from falling apart.  It's a neat way of working with loose cotton.  I'd like to try something like that with layers of quilt batting.  

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas   

These little baskets were made in Germany c. 1950s.  The entire basket is a spun cotton shape, and the fruit inside is as well.  I might have to make a variation of these for Easter!    

A Study of Spun Cotton Crafts - Vintage Inspiration and Ideas   

Now in the shop, enjoy my line of newly made spun cotton shapes for any of you who are interested in re-creating some of these traditional crafts.  These are made in Europe, using the old-world techniques.   Shop spun cotton here.

spun cotton

 

Check out the spun cotton section of the shop, to get your own shapes to play with.  I'd love to see what you come up with!

2 comments

  • Patricia Stewart: November 09, 2016

    I have always love the old spun cotton ornamets..I have try to get in foration on how to Make my own…where are you I am in Ontario Canada

  • Cindy: September 12, 2016

    Thank you so much for the wonderful photos and info.! I have long admired the spun cotton ornaments, and now I can try my own hand at their creation. I am going to put an order in soon!

    :-)
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