Today I did something sort of stupid and I always like sharing my stupid stuff for the enlightenment of others. Unfortunately it brought to mind a story that is going to make for a long post.
What I did today was to wash five pieces of burlap. I had an idea that parts of the sheets would unravel but I did not invasion the mess that confronted me when the washer stopped. I must have thrown away at least a yards length of burlap. So my advice is to wash burlap if you wish to use it for backgrounds for table top photography, but figure out a way to ‘hem’ or secure the raw edges before you do. It was a major mess but what I ended up with is very nice. No folds, nice soft textured material that will make great backgrounds.
I bought the burlap exactly six years ago this month from Hobby Lobby. Back then a friend in New York City was doing some pretty interesting table top work mostly with flowers. I wanted to see what I could do even though I didn't and still don't think that I am very good at table top photography. I constructed a PVC pipe device to hold backgrounds on top of a drafting table.
Creases in the material do not photograph well so I would simply iron out the creases before using it. Now I have decided to do some table top at the studio and there I have no way to iron it, thus the washing to get rid of the six years worth of creases from the folds.
The day of the purchase I got five one and a half yards strips of one yard wide burlap in different colors. I also bought a couple of yards of unbleached muslin, a couple of three yard strips of white rip-stop nylon, a couple of other strips of some unknown soft fabric that I thought would work well. The clerk had it all stacked neatly on the cutting table when Janet needed to go to the ladies room. I asked to be excused. When we returned there was three or four ladies standing together and seemed very concerned. Finally one asked what I was going to do with such a strange assortment of fabrics. I explained they would be backgrounds for my photography. They seemed quite relieved. One said that they were afraid that I intended to make something for Janet to wear.
Yes, I know. In six years anyone else would have thrown out the burlap. Me? I’ve still got the framework sitting on the drafting table because I knew someday I would get that same itch again.