Fabric Postcards

When I signed on to trade with two groups of Postmark’d Art, I thought I had a good idea about what I wanted to do. As so often happens, though, the ideas kept coming and the postcards I finally created are somewhat different — though I am very happy with them. They also turned out to be more challenging that I had anticipated. And so it goes.

Karen Musgrave suggested a Deck of Cards as a long-term trade idea and a well-spring of support followed. We decided to start with the Heart suit and formed several groups of eager artists. Each group has 7 participants, each being dealt 2 cards (King-Ace plus the Joker) as their inspiration. I drew the Jack and 8 of Hearts.

I have had a package of Artist Transfer Paper (ATP) for some time but had not used it. Now was the time. I did some internet surfing and settled on inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. The Knave of Hearts was quite a rascal and I couldn’t resist him.

Franki Kohler, Jack of HeartsFor the address side of the postcard I scanned a playing card back, converted it to black and white and lightened it. I quoted Lewis Carroll to complete the idea.

Franki Kohler, Jack of Hearts AddressI was happy to be dealt the 8 because I know that the number 8 and the color red are considered to be lucky in Chinese culture. With this idea I challenged myself to create a word cloud. Maureen Callahan wrote a very good tutorial for us on creating word clouds — I highly recommend it as a starting point to a fun adventure.

Franki Kohler, 8 of HeartsI used red acrylic paint to finish the edge of the postcard. Again I scanned the back of a playing card to use on the address side.

Franki Kohler, 8 of Hearts AddressAnd it was fun to have a project so perfect for using my chop. Read about the chop purchase here.

The other theme group is My Town (something symbolic, distinctive or map-ly about where you live).  There are many things to crow about in my town but the single item that rose to the top of the list is Lake Merritt, the Jewel of Oakland. It’s unique, it’s beautiful and it is very well-loved in this city. And it recently underwent a face lift that is attracting even more locals.  I used TAP again to transfer a scanned map onto fabric.

Franki Kohler, My TownGertrude Stein (1874-1946) famously said of Oakland, “There is no there there.” The much-quoted statement appears in Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography (Random House 1937, p 289). Well, things have changed. Oakland boasts big metal letters that spell THERE. So there. And here they are.

Franki Kohler, ThereTo be fair, she said this in 1933 after coming to San Francisco on a book tour. She took a ferry to Oakland to visit the farm she grew up on, and the house she lived in near what is now 13th Avenue and E. 25th Street in Oakland. The house had been razed and the farmland had been developed with new housing. So, even though Paris had been Home since 1903, the complete erasure of what she remembered so well about her childhood in Oakland was gone. I can understand her waxing nostalgic.

I converted the above image to black and white, lightened it quite a bit and added the quote by Stein for the address side. There. All done.


Postmark’d Art is in the midst of its 16th round of trading. One of the themes that I am trading in is Typography. I’ve received two that I can’t help but share here. Lynn Chinnis used a quote from Ellen Lupton to illustrate her point.

Franki Kohler, Typography by Lynn Chinnis

And Karen Musgrave clipped words from newspaper and magazines to create a ransom note.

Franki Kohler, Ransom Note by Karen Musgrave

It says: “We have your muse. You have 2 days to send 5 lbs. of dark, organic chocolate or we put her in a small simple wooden box without toys until our demands are met! No excuses! Go! Run! No coffee breaks. Thank you.”

And, yes, I did indeed send her some chocolate — wouldn’t you?


I went to opening day of the Pacific International Quilt Festival at the Santa Clara Convention Center yesterday. So much eye candy! So much fun!

Here are a few of the art quilts that stopped me in my tracks. I’m sorry I cut off the top edge of this charming quilt by Jenny Lyon. Love the stripes. Love the setting. And lest you think this is just a little trifle,

look closer for the ‘wow factor.’

This second quilt by Jenny received a ribbon as runner-up to Best of Show.

And a detail.

From the SAQA exhibit I’m Not Crazy, two quilts in particular had me lingering. The horizontal design using yellow and blue is wonderful.

And the strips of pieced fabric include silk from men’s ties.

Her simple statement about this quilt was perfect.

Karen Musgrave’s entry was in a corner which was dark, a bit of irony for this lovely piece.

I have long admired Linda Cline’s work. Her fabric, thread and paint layering create a unique, sophisticated look that I never tire of.

Here is another artist who approaches her work in layers. A simple design element, repeated in dye and fabric with a riveting result.

Oh boy! I wanna know Linda.

The color choices for this quilt were spot on and the workmanship is impeccable.  I love the way the umbrella nudges the boundary of the quilt reminding the viewer of the tight boundary that these three children have under its protection.

I’m not usually tempted by ‘cute’ quilts, however, this one charmed me. I like the balance and whimsy of the design and the words drew me in. Using words can be a very tricky thing. I think that Joyce used them well here.

Here are two of the truths that Joyce shares with us.

After the work of walking, navigating the crowd and doing my best to get good photographs, I needed a little retail therapy reward. Mama Shaman had a booth and these shoes had my name all over them.

Naturally, a photograph will not give you all the information there is to an art quilt. If you’re able, get on over to the show. It is open through this Sunday and it is well worth the effort.

One Lovely Blog Award

I’m proud to share that I’ve been nominated for the One Lovely Blog award by Meta Heemskerk of the Netherlands. Meta is a no-holds-barred fiber artist who is constantly learning and growing. I envy her focus and volume of accomplishment. Find out what Meta is up to at Green In The Middle. I’m very pleased that Meta likes my blog. And I am grateful to all who read, comment, like and follow me.

In keeping with the spirit of the award, nominees are expected to

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link.

  2. Name 7 random things about yourself.

  3. Pass the recognition to blogs you enjoy and let them know.

Seven very random things about me:

  1. I attended 2 high schools in Germany before graduating in New Mexico.

  2. I’m a Jeopardy! addict.

  3. I have watched Julie & Julia more times than I care to confess.

  4. Ditto for You’ve Got Mail.

  5. I learned to swim in 1999. Okay, yes, I could tread water before, but that’s not swimming. Now that I can actually swim, I’m in the pool 3 times a week and I’m comfortably swimming 3/4 mile each time.

  6. Lemon is my favorite flavor. Hands down.

  7. After tasting a croissant from Poilâne Bakery in Paris (2010) I cannot bring myself to buy one locally. Another trip to Paris is a must.

Now to pass it on:

  1. Jenny Lyon

  2. Karen Davis

3. Jane Davila

  1. Karen Musgrave

5. Tina Dang

  1. Debra Svedberg

7. Pat Dicker

  1. Simon Sinek  His focus is business but his thoughts apply to life in general.

9. Jeanne Williamson

  1. Deidre Adams

  2. Original Art Studio

  3. Karen Stiehl Osborn

That’s enough reading material. Make it a great day!

The Liebster Blog Award

I have been awarded the Liebster Blog Award by Carol Larson, a serious fiber artist you can catch up with at Live2Dye.  This award is given to bloggers who inspire you and have less than 200 followers. The Liebster Award takes it’s name from the German word meaning Beloved, Dearest or Favorite. Oh MY! I’m so honored to receive this award. Thank you Carol.

As part of the tradition it is passed along to 5 bloggers that have motivated and inspired.
To accept the award you must:
1. Link back to the person who gave it to you and thank them.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you appreciate and value.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.

And now for my 5. . .

Sue Reno originally inspired me to start heliographic and cyanotype printing

Suzanne Kistler beautiful work and relentless creation

Del Thomas road trips and Wordless Wednesday and Corky, oh my!

Sara Kelly Incredible work and unstoppable positive attitude

Karen Musgrave Super high achiever who dares you not to be involved

Thank you Carol and my anointed 5 for inspiring me!

Postmark’d Art Has a New Face

Postmark’d Art, the on-line community of artists creating and trading fabric postcards through the mail, has a new face! The new site, which now includes a blog, went public  Sunday, October 16th. Karen Musgrave of Illinois and Lynn Chinnis of Virginia, both charter members, are working with me to fine tune the information and ease of navigation on the site.  I’ve moderated this group since its inception in July 2004 (when we became a group and first appeared in cyberspace) and I can tell you that the group is as lively and fun as when we first formed. As fiber artists who are sharing our art and skills with each other, we continue to learn and grow. And we’re all very jazzed about the potential for sharing this infectious form of art making with everyone who clicks on by.

Part of the appeal of making fabric postcards is the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and/or materials in a small format, and to know that these “experiments” will go to an appreciative audience.  A second plus is seeing the techniques and materials used on the postcards we receive.  Many of our members have graciously shared their techniques and those articles can be found on the FEATURED TECHNIQUE page.

I signed up for a trade called “alphabet” this round: Six members, six letters (A-F), each person creates a postcard using their letter as inspiration.  Place your cursor over each image to see the title and name of the artist:

Will the new face for Postmark’d Art launch a thousand ships? I don’t know. But I’m going to continue focusing on the #1 rule we’ve held dear from day one:  Have FUN!