Sunday, April 29, 2012

Turquoise Jewelry-Inspired ATCs

The color theme for May’s Arts in the Cards ATC exchange is turquoise—one of my favorite colors. As I got dressed the other day, I put on a favorite Native American turquoise and silver necklace & earrings set, and the inspiration hit me. I realized that the reason I love that particular set of jewelry is that it is the greenish shade of turquoise, not the more popular bluish turquoise, and I love the nuances of other color within the stones.
I had some green and turq batik fabric, and printed a white flower with an original mini thermofax screen that was made from a print of one of my hand-carved block prints. I was off to a good start, but just mounting the printed fabric on a 2.5” x 3.5” piece of cardboard seemed really boring, so I began to slice and dice and add other fabrics, colors and textures. I settled on using ½ to ¾ of the flower print, alongside some olive green 100% wool felt, adding some thin, soft white batting, and stitched with turq thread. Some of the ATCs have the felt down the middle, which somehow reminded me of a butterfly; some have the flower on the felt on opposite sides...each one is just a little different. It still needed a little more ‘oomph’, so I added some tiny, irregular pieces of turquoise beads for accent.
Sadly, when I stitched the fabric ATC to the cardstock backing, the fabric shifted, leaving ugly white batting and cardboard exposed. I thought about cutting it, but the ATCs would have been lopsided and small. I thought about painting the exposed white to match the card, but that would have made a wet, soggy mess. So, here’s how I fixed it: I started by covering the white with a turquoise Crayola Twistables slick stix, but that was too bright. I went over it with a spring green Prismacolor marker…that did the trick. The two colors blended together just right, and matched the batik fabric as well as the olive felt.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Prayer Flag: Just for Today...

The idea of doing a prayer flag sounds easy. For me, it was not. There were a lot of questions I asked myself: should it be bold and colorful…or soft, airy and ethereal? Should it be strong and weather-resistant or delicate so it will disintegrate quickly? Paper or fabric? We’re selling our house—do I dare hang a raggedy flag in the yard? What will prospective buyers think? Can I take it down when I move or will that ruin the karma? Should I use an image or fabric that is really special and ‘sacrifice’ it to the universe? After many trials and failures, I decided the best thing to do was to be really ‘me’—bold, rainbow colors, sturdy fabrics. I took one of my ‘balancing my chakras in a hurricane’ atcs, step and repeated the design, and turned it into a tie-dye looking fabric. I overlaid a few words in white script—peace, honesty, communication, compassion & kindness. They are kind of one word mini prayers. I also included, in a smaller size and different font, the reiki prayer that I start and end each day with. It says: Just for today, I will let go of anger. Just for today, I will let go of worry. Just for today, I will count my many blessings. Just for today, I will do my work honestly. Just for today, I will be kind to every living creature. Simple words...but very, very hard to adhere to. I flipped the image and printed it on a t-shirt transfer sheet, ironed it to cotton, and mounted the artwork on two strong batiks that matched the design, and added some thin batting. I hand-quilted the piece and purposely left the edges unfinished and frayed. After I was done, I discovered that I left out a word in the reiki prayer, but didn’t fix it—somehow it seemed right to be imperfect.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Reiki-Inspired Art-O-Mat Blocks: Energy-Growth-Bloom

Here is my newest batch of Art-o-Mat blocks, packed and ready to ship out.
I used small silkscreens, well, really thermofax screens, which fiber artist Lynn Krawczyk makes.

The silkscreens come out soooo much better than trying to block print onto fabric, and it is really fast, easy and inexpensive. Lynn's esty site is You can send her your own designs or purchase some of her pre-made screens. I also purchase screen printing paint from her, which stays moist and doesn't clog the screens like acrylics sometimes can. The gold paint, however, is an acrylic that I get at my local five and ten.

These blocks are made from my own designs. The one that looks like a musical note is the reiki energy symbol; I printed in gold on purple batik since purple is the healing color in reiki.

The floral is from a hand carved stamp I made, which I then had made into a small screen. I printed it on a rose colored cotton batik. The spiral-leaf is a doodle I make constantly, so I had that made into a silkscreen also, and printed it on both colors of batik.

This is my process in making the blocks:
1-iron the fabric so there are no wrinkles
2-print the small silkscreens on the fabric
3-cut peltex rectangles the size to fit an artomat block (you can also size them for quilted postcards or ATCs)
4-put the silkscreened piece on top of the peltex, stitch the edges of the piece with a zig-zag, and add quilting with a plain stitch
5-glue the artwork to the artomat block (I use sobo)
6-decorate the edges with dots of dimensional fabric paint
7-put a back label on with the name of the artwork and other info
8-wrap them with little pieces of cellophane so they will vend properly from the artomat machines
9-pack and ship, and pray that they sell.

If you want to find out more about art-o-mat, also known as Artists in Cellophane, go to:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Geisha-Inspired Paper Dolls from Recycled Teabags

I am still enamored of the technique I have been puttering with for a few weeks--printing hand carved and commercial stamps on recycled tea bags and coffee filters to create a faux lace effect. Here is the latest thing I have made with them: geisha-inspired paper dolls.

I belong to an art trade group called Roses on my Table where we trade all kinds of mixed media artwork and share ideas and techniques. I was drawing a blank on this month's theme--geisha-inspired dolls--which had to contain some kind of piece relating to tea, probably to honor the tea ceremony. So, it was a double challenge for me. I like weird faces and 60s inspired clothing, so this was a bit out of my realm.

I used a face from a self-portrait an artist friend did and combined it with a geisha image in photoshop. I researched geisha clothing, and made my own template for the body and arms. The pieces are put together with tiny brads so that the head, arms, shoes and hands are moveable.

This time for my faux lace, I tried a pink screen printing paint on the teabags. I didn't think I liked it as much as the white on beige, but it worked out pretty well for the doll clothing. I added a touch of a white paisley for accent to soften the pink, and used a gluestick to adhere the printed teabags to cardstock. The trim/accent is my own fabric, available on spoonflower under edzellinni. The floral sash and shoes is the same design as my blog header at the top of the page. The hands are made from teabags glued to fabric and carefully cut out, and the purple shoes are from a kava tea wrapper.