Saturday, February 20, 2016

Woven and Burned Paper ATCs, With a Quilterly Influence

Woven paper was the challenge in a recent Paper Traders yahoo group exchange. We were to make ATCs that included some degree of paper that had been woven. It could be a little section, or it could be the whole piece. The theme seemed a natural fit for me: I have tons of paper scraps, and I love weaving. The challenge for me was that ATCs are really small--only 2.5" x 3.5"--so weaving little teeny strips, without a loom for support, was a little tricky.

Woven ATCs using paper scraps, washi tape, lace and fabric scraps.
These used several sentimental scraps, so were kept for my own collection.

I rifled through my boxes and bins looking for thin, pretty strips of paper that were too pretty to throw away, and gathered them together. I used pieces of commercial paper as well as pieces from edges of paintings and painted paper. First, I arranged them in stripes, trying to alternate light and dark, and fat and thin pieces. As I went along, I incorporated washi tape and newsprint and fabric scraps to make it a little more interesting.

A little tape held the paper "weft" fairly secure at one end, but putting in the "warp", and then trying to glue it all down without knocking it all out of alignment, was really challenging. When I finished, I had five little woven pieces. They were cute, but cute wasn't enough. And I don't really "do" cute. So, I asked myself the eternal question: "What next?" They seemed to need a center piece, so I auditioned birds, butterflies, famous quotes and flowers. It all seemed so boring.

So, I stepped a little out of my comfort zone and tried something I had not done in years: intentional burning. Using a permanent black ink pad, I printed some of my favorite Julie Fei-Fan Balzer stamps on a cream "linen" paper. When dry, I cut them out, leaving about a 1/2" edge. Next, I carefully burned the edges. I worked at my kitchen sink, with the water gently running, and blew out the flame or wet it when it was burned to my liking. 
These three woven paper ATCs were traded.

The little geometric burned prints gave the woven backgrounds some oomph, and once the burned pieces were dry and cool, I glued them to the woven bases. The finishing touch was running a sepia stamp pad along the edges of the ATC base to give it an aged look.

The response from members of my art exchange was that they looked like mini quilts. I thought: "Quilts? That was not at all what I had in mind. They were not supposed to be teeny little quilts." But their quiltiness should not have been a surprise. I am a quilt lover and collector, a former art-quilter (retired from that art form due to shoulder injuries) and a former textile designer. So, quilts must be so much a part of my history and my makeup that the quilt style just bubbled to the surface. And it makes me wonder...hmmm, how WOULD this design look as a gigantic quilt?

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