Friday, August 26, 2011

Designing Eye Candy with Spoonflower

I have had many hobbies over the years.  The primary one being drawing.  Designing textiles is a new hobby that has pulled from some of my old hobbies.  It seems to feel like a combination of drawing, painting, stamping, cutting, or even making floral arrangements.  

A few years back, a relative of mine, fell in love with digital abstract art that I was creating.  She really had an interest in wall hangings.  I enjoyed creating them, but never brought them into printed art.  Time went by and she contacted me to say she had heard of a company called Spoonflower and they were printing textiles from uploaded digital designs and had hoped I would give it a try. 

I had gotten some experience with digital art through working on a grant project for special needs science programs, as the staff artist.  I had learned many ways to manipulate the art programs from that experience.  The textile designs required somewhat different skills, which were far beyond pure artistic inspiration.  It was necessary to comprehend the way fabric repeats would occur within a design.  Easier said than done.  A bit of mathematics and intuition would have to come into play to succeed with the desired effects.  It was also necessary to grasp that the colors on the monitor may differ from the actual printed design.  After a few frustrations along the way, the process became more predictable and very enjoyable.  

Last month was the most successful I have seen, since submitting my designs to Spoonflower, with over thirty yards being sold.   

Here are a few photos of the printed fabrics, if you would like to take a look.

I have several colorways of this design.  

One very useful element among the design options with the Spoonflower Company, is the option to scale the designs.  This design is shown in an 8 inch square and a 4 inch square. 

The photo below shows an example of how a quilter might be able to apply this type of print into their quilts.

This design is from my Jungle series.  It was printed on the cotton sateen at 4 inch scale.  By rotating the designs, it will create an entirely different square.

By continuing to rotate identical cuts, so that a different corner appears in the center, 
then a new design square will form.

These are grouped into color coordinated samples.  The larger ones were printed on the quilting cotton and the small paisley designs were printed on the cotton sateen.  The colors remind me of Skittles Candy.

This design is printed onto the quilting weight cotton.  I was pleased with the printing.

Everyone really liked this print.  Resembles cloisonne' just a bit.

This is a large scale design.  I hope to continue designing with the large scale.  There are options on this design, to have it set to smaller scale also.  I am thinking of having these
become a set of pillow cases.

Well, I won't continue tempting you with the eye candy...................but that gives a taste of my newest hobby.

By the way, the cousin that originally discovered Spoonflower, ended up ordering a design I called Silk Sari, a large-scale blue abstract.  Her plan was to print it to silk.  She is expects to be wearing it soon, as a silk sari.  When she is not wearing it, she wants to hang it on her wall, as art.

If you would like to see more of the designs I have with Spoonflower, I will add the link for their site.  The folks there are creating some new and helpful search options at the present time.  It is fun to be simply window shopping, even if you are not a fabric buyer.  They have a great customer service department and want to provide an enjoyable experience for their users.  

Listed below is my link.  I am not sure if it pasted as a hyperlink.  If it did not.  Then see how copy and paste works.

Well, I am need of a few minutes designing time.................
more later.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Handmade Brambly Hedge Mice

I happened onto a book about ten years ago with patterns for making these mice.  I did not use the recommended felt fabric for the characters.  Instead I upcycled a silk tie from the thrift store for the groom's vest.  His suit is a light weight herringbone wool upcycled from the thrift store.  The "bones" of the mice are made from pipe cleaners and their skin is a faux suede fabric.  I used cotton lawn and french lace to dress the Bride.  The rest of the bridal party is a bit more "dressed down".  It gives a "country mouse" feel to their wedding.  The mice were all sewn together by finger stitching.  So this is truly a handmade project.  I thought I would share their pictures and hope others enjoy them as much as I have.

What does a two year old remember?

I've been a crafts person for as long as I can remember.  It is a need.  Much like needing oxygen.  Without creative endeavors it is as if oxygen has been removed from a room.

Memories from childhood seem to be strongly connected to creativity or color.

In first grade, I remember coloring a blue fruit bowl.  I arranged the fruit in the blue compote dish so that grapes were draped over the side of the bowl.  It must have been an unusual thing for a first grade drawing, because I recall my teacher, Mrs. Ellis, becoming a motivator for my creative efforts.

My very early memories occur just after I turned two years old.  I recall picking yellow buttercups from beside our driveway.  I recall a bush dotted with yellow blooms just outside the bedroom window.  I recall picking a yellow dandelion for my dying grandmother.   It was an important color to a 2 year old, I think.

It is curious that I have so many memories from such an early age.  There are around fifty memories I can place back to that time.  Memories of snow globes, plastic reindeer on a table, a gift of a red plastic purse and a doll so tall that we could look each other in the eye, since we were the same height.  I remember my grandmother laughing, when I thought a group of serenading folks were terrorizing me.  It was that terror that a two year old has when people dressed in costume, show up at the front door.  Every kid just knows that something is not right about that sort of thing.  My grandmother passed away about six months after that, but I still recall her laughter.  That was almost half a century ago.  Our family was building a new home and I recall being lifted to stand on the foundation of the house without walls and looking down at the sub-flooring.  The wood was laid down on a diagonal.  I remember seeing the planks in that design.  It is curious that it is a memory a two year files for all time.  I imagine it must have been that I was observing patterns and colors at that age, because the creative artist was already budding within.  I do remember flipping over on my tricycle while riding it in the kitchen.  I was wearing one of those plastic headbands with the teeth.  Apparently I must have landed head first, because my mother could see the blood coming from little holes in my scalp, which were spaced the exact distance of those little teeth from the headband.  I also remember riding a ski-lift in the Smokie Mountains.  I think my Mother was afraid my Daddy would not hold on to me well enough as we hopped into the seat, because I vaguely recall wondering if she knew something I didn't.  We went to Silver Dollar City, high on the mountain.  It was a western town.  It had been a lovely place to visit and sit on on the bench and munch popcorn.  It was at least, up until the eruption of the gun battle and men began falling from rooftops.  At that age, I did not realize it was a wild west show and felt the danger of the moment.  Nothing ruins your popcorn like men falling from a roof.

I won't go on with the memories of a two year old.  I only mention them to say that I feel these memories were part of the creative spirit that was forming within me.

I am always fascinated to hear of other people with memories that go back to their toddler years.

Having that creative desire, is what I believe is a Gift from God.  I am thankful for the joy I find in that gift.
It feels a little like a miracle to me.  I have been able to draw all my life, without lessons.   I don't know how I am able to draw, except that it was endowed by the Creator, as He shares His own joy in creating, through allowing us to have those joys too.

I hope to post pictures of some of those creative pursuits.  My most recent creative fun, has been teaching myself to design fabric and uploading those designs to Spoonflower.  Hope to post some of the fabric samples too.

So let's see if this is the one and only blog I ever accomplish.........................but here it is, for better or worse.