FAIRFIELD — Shelby Thompson is giving old vinyl a new life.
The Fairfield businesswoman turns LPs into purses, clocks and bowls. You can see her creations Thursday at the Fairfield Farmers Market. The pastor’s wife will bring her wares Oct. 6 to the eighth annual Art, Wine and Chocolate event at the Suisun City Waterfront.
Her passion started when she and husband Willie Thompson stumbled across five or six boxes of record albums at a Goodwill store. Part of a Time-Life series, each box had about a dozen records within. She purchased the boxes for about $1 each.
When she didn’t find a hidden gem among them, Thompson decided to recycle them. First came the purses, a natural addition to her accessories business.
They feature an LP on each side, with fabric connecting them. The process requires punching holes in the vinyl, so she can weave the fabric to the LP. Each purse requires about two hours of labor.
“I have to take time making the holes (with a hole punch) so I don’t crack the album,” she said.
Then Thompson considered other options. Because of the LP’s shape, she thought clocks were a natural.
Children’s clocks are fashioned with Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty and tractors, to name a few. Clocks for adults feature sports teams.
Thompson uses the center of the album as the clock. Most of the time she leaves the rest of the album intact.
In a few instances, she’s covered the entire album. For one, she used a stretchable book cover of Tinkerbell. The other is a cardboard Golden State Warriors logo, which has been cut to shape.
She also melts the vinyl in her oven, then shapes it into a bowl or clock.
“This has to be done fast,” Thompson said.
That’s because vinyl cools fast but is also very hot to touch when it first comes out of the oven.
The clocks are labor intensive, too, as Thompson take parts from clocks that aren’t being used and recycles them.
“When you take a clock apart, it has a lot of screws,” she said.
Thompson also recycles CDs, turning them into small clocks.
“They are so unique. So different,” she said of her creations. “And it’s a good way to recycle. It’s not something you are going to see in a store.”
Thompson said she draws inspiration from shopping trips and says she got her artistic bent from her mother, also a pastor’s wife.
“When she did the (church) banquets, I would see her work and all the ideas she came up with,” Thompson said.
A Bay Area transplant, Thompson began working in retail in her teens. The mother of two adult daughters is now happily self-employed.
Thompson will be one of more than 90 artists at the Art, Wine and Chocolate event, which will also include wine tasting, a chocolate bar and live music. Children’s activities are also planned.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.