Debra Wortley

I've been able to draw my years of quilting, two new art forms, inspiration from a trip to Maine, and my love of all things nautical, to create my recycled sailcloth Fish Tail Bags!

Debra fell in love with the idea of creating beautiful and practical bags from used sail cloth. She loves the patina, the sturdiness and the practicality of the cloth and the idea of using something which would otherwise be discarded.

Once the idea hatched, things seemed to fall into place. First Debra discovered her next door neighbour wanted to get rid of some old sails he was finished with, then the owner of a local restaurant overheard she and her husband Neale talking about it over lunch, and offered his sails as well.

Now she had her raw materials! Next was to add some interest to the bag by creating silk screening designs. So, Debra took a silk screening class from Andy MacDougal at the Wachiay Studio in Courtenay. She chose a couple of designs she liked and then was asked by her quilting "bud", Tsleil-Waututh First Nations artist and quilter, Joyce McLellan, if she would trade a bag for two of Joyce's heron drawings.  Of course, Debra jumped at the chance to collaborate in this way.

Each bag takes between 3-5 hours to make, depending on the type of sailcloth. The bags use 3/8" anchor line for the handles, brass grommets, and 100% cotton material for the lining.

Sailcloth is very resilient and can be washed, even scrubbed clean. The whole bag can be washed in warm water on gentle and hung to dry!