Anyone who knows me understands that I am possessed with the ginkgo leaf. After years of using the image on postcards and quilts, I even planted a ginkgo tree last year. My own tree! My own leaves! And it’s autumn! But I digress….
Having just completed the second of two large quilts that will hang in my solo show Borrowed From Nature October 1 – 31 at Creative Framing & Gallery, I made an immediate switch to the tiny format of fabric postcards. I have been thinking copper, silver and gold lately and I find the fabric postcard to be thoroughly satisfying.
Here is the periodic table symbol for silver. I’ve used cotton fabric as background for the leaf and the symbol, pale grey fabric with silver threads woven (a subtle glitz) and silver metallic thread for thread painting the leaf.
I have a small quilt in progress…yes, more ginkgos. I can’t help myself and, frankly, I don’t want to. I’m not done with this inspiration.
I’m yearning to work in a small format. I have a stack of 5″ x 7″ and 16″ x 16″ fabrics sitting on my cutting board and I’ll be turning those into postcards and 12-inch-square quilts over the next 7 – 10 days. While I’ve been pondering these stacks and the possibilities, my mind has wandered back to a project I did in 2009 for a trade with Postmark’d Art, the fabric postcard trading group that I moderate. It was one of the first projects that I completed using my then-new felting machine.
Using the felting machine to complete one 4″ x 6″ fabric postcard would be most difficult. For this project I thought of a larger image that I could then cut into many postcards. I called it my “Van Gogh Project” and it was very fun to use fabric in an impressionistic way.
I layered small fabric chunks on top of white felt then placed a layer of tulle over the whole surface, pinned it here and there and took it to the felting machine. In the center-most section of the piece I tucked in a tulle that had flecks of white sparkle — voila, some real sizzle for the center of the sun.
Hover your cursor over the image for more details. (And if you see the fern quilt as a header at the top, or no header at all, click on the title of this posting for a header which will reveal a closer view of the center portion.) The project is complete here — already cut into 4″ x 6″ pieces, edges stitched and sealed with gold paint, yielding 21 fabric postcards. Each postcard was numbered — 1/21, 2/21, etc. I traded many and sold many of them (I mount them on 8-ply museum-quality rag mat) and I have just one left, the very center. It’s actually the one I like the most so I’ve been happy to have it hang out with me in my studio. It will be mounted and ready to sell during my solo show, “Borrowed From Nature,” in October.
If it sells I’ll be a bit sad. Then I’ll just have to get busy with the felting machine.
The theme I joined for this rounds’ exchange of fabric postcards with Postmark’d Art is Alphabet. It will take several rounds of trading to get through the whole alphabet. This round involves the first 6 letters: A, B, C, D, E, F. There are 6 fiber artists in a group and each person chooses one letter as inspiration for making 6 postcards. I chose the letter C. I just put “C is for Copper” in the mail today. I hope everyone receiving them enjoys them as much as I enjoyed making them.
Since my husband is a chemist the periodic table connection was fun. I think there may be some gold and silver in my future.
Lest you think that I am a one-note samba endlessly printing fern fronds for art quilts, let me share another of my obsessions with you: fabric postcards. These little treasures have been around since the 1970s at least, but my first introduction to them was in 2004 when I read an article in the summer issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. It is not an exaggeration to say that my life was changed from that moment. The potential from creating fabric postcards was clear immediately: they are ideal for experimenting with new techniques and products on the quilting market, the format requires a minimum of time and material investment and they are truly fun to send and receive. I joined with an on-line group of artists to form Postmark’d Art in July 2004 and we’ve been creating and trading fabric postcards ever since. C&T Publishing Inc., released my book fast, fun & easy Fabric Postcards, Keepsakes You Can Make and Mail and I have enjoyed teaching.
Need a card to celebrate a special occasion or just say “you’re special?” Why not create a unique piece of art that will be treasured for years to come?
Here is a project to whet your appetite for 4″ x 6″ art:
Quaking Aspen Bark
We’re all thinking “green” these days. With a few supplies in your studio and a bit of laundry lint, you can create “bark” that resembles one of nature’s wonders, the Quaking aspen tree. This project will yield 6 fabric postcards.
13″ x 13″ white felt and 3″ x 13″ white felt
12″ x 12″ white fabric for address side
12″ x 12″ fast2fuse double-sided fusible stiff interfacing
Dryer lint from 1-2 loads of wash, especially dark loads of clothes
Black wool roving
Pewter Lumiere paint by Jacquard
Small paint brush
Embellishing machine, such as Janome FM-725
Rotary cutter, ruler and self-healing matt
Fine-tip permanent marker (I prefer Micron pigma 01)
Optional: Image of quaking aspen trees. For the image I used click here.
Creating Quaking Aspen Bark
Step 1. Place chunks of the dryer lint on the felt background fabric and punch.
Note: Some areas may be too sparse. Place another layer of the lint and punch it in.
Step 2. Snip small pieces of black roving and place randomly. Punch.
Step 3. Cut wavy strips no wider than ¼″ from the 3″ x 13″ piece of white felt. Place one strip at the edge of the background felt and punch to secure.
Twist the strip and punch 1″ – 2″ at a time. Continue adding strips of twisted felt until you are happy with the look.
Note: If the strip breaks, place the end of the broken strip at the end of the line already punched and continue punching.
Step 4. Trim completed bark to a 12″ x 12″ square. Fuse to the 12″ x 12″ fast2fuse.
Step 5. Fuse the 12″ x 12″ white fabric to the opposite side of the fast2fuse.
Step 6. Cut the 12″ x 12″ finished bark into 6 sections, each measuring 4″ x 6″.
Step 7. Use white thread to stitch about 1/8″ from the edge around each postcard.
Step 8. Using a small brush, paint the pewter Lumiere paint to seal the edge of each postcard.
Step 9. Complete the message and address using a fine-tip permanent marker. I prefer Micron pigma 01. Use a self-adhesive postage stamp to mail.
Need more of a jump start? Check out the Postmark’d Art site and my book.
Warning: making fabric postcards is like nibbling a finger treat; once you start, it’s hard to stop!
Eight members of Postmark’d Art contributed 23 fabric postcards to support the Alzhemier’s Art Quilt Initiative raise funds for Alzhemier’s research. The auction begins July 1st and runs through the 10th. View all the fabric postcards available here. Please consider bidding and sharing this information with friends. We’d all love to hear that a cure has been found. The postcard I contributed is mounted on archival mat, ready to frame.