Fabric Postcards

I’ve just completed fabric postcards for the 20th round of trading with Postmark’d Art. The theme for the group I am trading with is handwork. I used Carol Ann Waugh‘s method for combining decorative and utility stitches on the sewing machine with simple hand stitches. You can see my first work using her techniques here.

I used a fat quarter of some yummy batik fabric I had in my stash and started pulling out thread. Here is a portion of the fabric after stitching by machine.

Portion of stitched fabricNext came another layer of fun, the hand stitching. I prepared the fabric by cutting it into 4″ x 6″ pieces and fusing them to fast2fuse, my favorite sturdy Pellon interfacing for postcards. Next I pulled out my hand stitching threads, some beads and a chenille needle and let the fun begin. And here are the postcards (click on an image for a larger view):

I finished the blue-grey postcards  and postcard 8 by stitching as close to the edge of the postcard as I could, then sealing the edge with Jacquard Lumiere paint. On postcards 9 and 10 I zigzagged some Oliver Twists hand-dyed thread. I like both of these finishing techniques.

These little treasures have been a personal obsession of mine since 2004 when Postmark’d Art was established and I became moderator of the group. My participation in the group has been a key ingredient in my artistic development, the motivation for writing fast, fun & easy Fabric Postcards, an incredible amount of Fun, and the reason for many new friendships that I enjoy today.   This will be my final trade with Postmark’d Art but it won’t be the last time I create fabric postcards.

If you haven’t created a fabric postcard yet, I ask why not? Click on the BOOK tab above to learn more about my book on the subject, contact me about scheduling a class for your group of fabric enthusiasts (see the CONTACT tab above),  visit the Postmark’d Art website by clicking on the link above and then click on the JOIN A NEW GROUP tab, and/or check out one of my projects here. Now is the time to learn something new and have fun at the same time. Consider this your personal invitation!


White on White Done

The four designs I chose for the White-on-White theme with Postmark’d Art are done. Ta da! This has been especially satisfying for me because the inspiration for the 4 designs was immediate and all are completed before the official start date for the trade has begun. Believe me, it doesn’t always happen that way so I am celebrating.

Plus — and this is a BIG PLUS — thanks to Kalia, a reader who shared tips on getting better photographs of these postcards, I actually have images that are much truer to the actual postcards. Thank you, Kalia! To honor the time and effort you shared with me I looked into the resources you shared in your comment (see the comment here) and I had great success. (I’m looking forward to even more refinement with my next photo shoot because the recommended wattage for the light bulb was 100 but I had only a 75 watt bulb.) So here they are, all ready to stamp and drop in the nearest mail box. Click on an image for a larger view.

The metallic zing of the thread stitching here still does not show – – I need to do more research on how to achieve that with the camera. I chose an elegant silver rope-braid cording to finish the edge on this floral design.

Franki Kohler, White FloralThe ginkgo fairly begged to be finished with a traditional quilt binding. How could I refuse? Binding a postcard with fast2fuse™ in the middle is a challenge but I think it’s worth the effort.

Franki Kohler, White GinkgoWhite satin cording finishes the edge of the Maple

Franki Kohler, White Mapleand the sunflower.

Franki Kohler, White SunflowerNow, on to a larger project that is calling me.

This posting is shared with Off the Wall Fridays.

Fabric Postcards – White on White

The new round of trading has not yet begun for Postmark’d Art but the theme ideas that are being voted on are inspirational — particularly White on White. The trade (our 19th round!) will officially begin February 1 so I have time to play with some ideas that are bubbling up.

I couldn’t resist pulling out some ribbons to create a new fabric. Here I have used cream grosgrain and cotton ribbons along with a very white ribbon that decorated a box of chocolates. The gold lettering says Coco Délice and, I think, lends a little touch of sophistication.

Franki Kohler, White on WhiteI used 12-weight variegated cotton thread on the body of the ginkgo and outlined it with variegated metallic thread. I really like the pattern created by the textures of the woven ribbons and I think I’ll be forgiven for including cream colors — they provide contrast and punch.

I’m trying to decide if this needs more thread work or other embellishments before I cut it apart for two postcards. Meanwhile, I have a start on another idea.

This is an Off The Wall Friday posting.

International Quilt Festival Houston, 2013

The plane ride to Houston was a bit rocky and I had a 2-hour layover in Albuquerque so I was glad to have Linda Lee Peterson’s latest page turner, The Devil’s Interval as my companion. If you enjoy murder mysteries and smart women with real flaws, this book should make its way to your must-read list.

I arrived in Houston in just enough time to empty my suit case and dash to the convention center for the Preview Night opening at 5:00 p.m. — one can manage a lot in the 2 hours before the exhibit is open to the public. My first stop was at the Studio Art Quilt Associates table to eye the foot-square quilts that were still available at their auction. To my amazement and delight, Meta Heemskerk’s Rembrandt to Mondrian was still available. I snatched it up. Meta is a mixed media artist who is completely driven and highly productive. She joined Postmark’d Art a couple of years ago so I can boast a growing collection of her fine work.

Meta Heemskerk, Rembrandt to MondrianI love the crisp, clean lines of this piece: the bold black lines that define shapes, the straight-line quilting that covers the entire work and the ‘license’ she took with the image (downloaded from NGA Images at the National Gallery for Art). I especially like the fact that she has combined a Dutch and American artist in the work and the maker and owner are Dutch and American. I think there was some Kismet working in my favor!

I dallied in the ‘Art: Whimsical’ area of the exhibit next. Four pieces stood out for me. According to artist Pauline Salzman, man’s best friend transcends all political parties. I think her Mt. Ruffmore supports that statement.

Pauline Salzman, Mt. RuffmoreI wish IQA would include the size of the pieces, but they don’t.

I laughed out loud when I stopped at David Charity’s Bit Map, inspired by his knowledge that Basenji dogs have a fetish for paper. Oh my!

David Charity, Bit Map Nemesis III: Elton is Cindy Henneke’s reflection on her garden and the havoc that local armadillos do to it. She shared that during construction, the floral fabric she used reminded her of you-know-who, hence the name.

Cindy Henneke, Nemisis III: Elton Kristen Bryson’s title simply says it all: Does He Make My Butt Look Big?

Kristen Bryson, Does it Make My Butt Look Big?And a detail. . .

Kristen Bryson, detailI will be sharing more wonderful art quilts, new friends and more this week. There’s bound to be something for everyone so stay tuned.

T is for Toile

Postmark’d Art is wrapping up a trade inspired by the alphabet.  It has taken us four rounds of trading to get through the alphabet — and what fun it has been!

For this round I selected the letter T. Along with a love of gardening, I thoroughly enjoy spotting birds in the backyard. We have feeders, nesting boxes and water features in our yard to attract them. And I have a collection of embroidery bird designs created in the toile manner. I knew you’d follow all this. Keeping toile fabrics used for home decorating in mind, I decided to stay simple and graphic with my design. I used seven different bird designs and the word toile. Hover your cursor over the image for more information. Click on an image for a larger view.


Rnd16-Toile-Nuthatch Rnd16-Toile-Downy-Woodpecker Rnd16-Toile-Chickadee Rnd16-Toile-BluebirdRnd16-Toile-CardinalRnd16-Toile-Scarlet-Tanager
Here is the fabric I used for the address side:


I had the letter N for inspiration in the last round.


See what I did for the first two rounds of alphabet trading here and here.


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?

Studio Tour

When I grow to love someone’s art, I become curious about their inspiration, habits, equipment and their studio. I cannot tell you how moved I was to be standing in the actual apartment where Beethoven lived — several times during the span of 1804-1815 — in Vienna. Heap upon that the fact that his pen and ink well, death mask and a significant portrait of him — one I’ve seen many times in the literature — was there

and (be still my heart!) one of the fortepianos he owned, this one built by Johann Andreas Streicher.

Can we talk about coveting equipment?  In this room, with this incredible instrument, Beethoven composed Symphonies #4, #5 and #6, Leonore Overture #3, his only opera, Fidelio, Piano Concerto #4 and much more! Recalling that experience still brings goosebumps to my skin and a lump in my throat.

I recently shared a guided tour of my studio with Postmark’d Art. If you’d like to take a peek, click on over here. To set the record straight, I am not comparing myself to Beethoven, just citing him as one of my personal examples.

Which artist do you admire? Wouldn’t you like to see his/her studio?

Back to the O’Hanlon Exhibit

Fellow artist and on-line friend Sharon Benton has temporarily moved from the Seattle area to San Jose for a few months and we are getting to know each other in person — so fun! Sharon was a charter member of Postmark’d Art so we have been chatting on-line and swapping art since 2004. Last week we finally met in person at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles and took in the Second International TECHstyle Art Biennial (ITAB). Photography is not permitted so you’ll just have to make the trip. The exhibit will be up through October 14, 2012, so you still have time to see this worthwhile exhibit.

Sharon drove up to Oakland yesterday and we went to the Bay Area Women Artists exhibit at the O’Hanlon Gallery in Mill Valley. I was there earlier this month and shared some of the art with you then, but I was happy for an excuse for a second visit. This time I took a few images of pieces that I particularly liked. Here is Barbara Crow’s acrylic Skara Brae.

Sharon and I agreed that we could each welcome Christine Boone’s Lines #1 into our home. The energy and light of this mixed media work really drew us in and made us want to linger.

Mitsuko Baum created an utterly charming fold-up map of Paris based on a trip taken there in 2002.

And here is the box that Paris is kept safe in.

I shared a full view of Marie Bergstedt‘s Summer here but you couldn’t really appreciate her fully. Here’s a close up of Summer’s face.

Marie stitched layer upon layer of buttons to create depth, contour and color. We couldn’t resist learning about the base that she used.

Here’s Sharon standing with Marie’s salty character Mikey of Mallory.

Susan Press had a unique way of reminiscing with her mixed media piece called Slices of the Past.

Black and white photographs have been sliced apart to create the skirt of this doll which is suspended by thread from the top of a simple glass enclosure.

This exhibit closes August 29, 2012 — today! — so time is running out.


I’m working on a written tour of my studio that Postmark’d Art will publish next month as part of it’s First Friday series.  Check out Suzanna Bond’s tour for a taste of what this series is about.

In preparation I snapped quite a few photos of my work digs. This one prompted a recent question:

How can I have this many beads — notice that you can see less than half of each drawer! — and still not have the ones I needed for my last project?! It’s one of life’s deep mysteries. I’m off to buy more beads.

Starry Night Done

I swung into action last week working on my project for a Postmark’d Art trade and posted about it here.  The process for me is always one of adding, viewing on the wall, and adding.  It began to look more painterly to me here.

One of the lovely things about felting on the black batting is that it’s easy to steam with the iron and have it come back to almost 100% full size. I steamed from the wrong side to avoid melting the tulle on the front. I’m getting closer to being satisfied with it here.

Beads were in order, then I trimmed and cut the final piece into nine 4″ x 6″ pieces.

And here they are ready to mail.

I used clear MonoPoly filament on the edges because I didn’t want to disturb the design by creating a formal border. I think it’s appropriate that one of these postcards will be headed for the Netherlands. I hope all of my trading friends will enjoy their piece of this larger work.

This is not the first van Gogh project that I’ve done. When I bought my felting machine in July 2008 I was eager to get acquainted with it. I dove straight into creating a swirling sun in the van Gogh style.

As you can see, this was a much larger project creating 21 postcards.  I placed snips of cotton fabric onto white felt, covered it with tulle and needled it. I have traded and sold all but one — the very center.

Work in Progress: Starry Night

Today is the 159th anniversary of Vincent van Gogh’s birthday. Happy birthday Vincent! The words to Don McLean’s hit song Vincent has been swirling around in my head for several days now and, unlike other times when I’ve found it annoying to have a tune linger this long, I’m enjoying its calming effect.

Postmark’d Art currently has a group making and trading postcards inspired by van Gogh and I’m part of that particular group.  At first I thought I would use one of his sunflower paintings as inspiration but when Janet Hartje sent her postcard with sunflowers I knew I’d jump on my second choice — that wonderful swirly night sky.  And (drum roll) this is another opportunity to use my needlefelting machine. I say it’s Kismet!

Focusing on the top right corner of the sky — it has plenty of drama — I’m using a piece of black batting as my surface to needle wool roving into. I covered the first layer of roving with a very fine netting that has flecks of sparkle on it. Most of it has been removed here.

Hum along with me and stay tuned.

Starry, starry night.

Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,

Swirling clouds in violet haze,

Reflect in Vincent’s eyes of china blue.

Colors changing hue, morning field of amber grain,

Weathered faces lined in pain,

Are soothed beneath the artist’s loving hand.

Visions Art Museum and More!

I simply had to go! The traveling SAQA exhibit Art Meets Science opened on February 3rd at Visions Art Museum in San Diego, CA. My quilt Nature’s Fractal is a part of this traveling exhibition and this is the only West Coast venue.  (See the sidebar for an explanation of the exhibit and where it goes next.)

Fellow Postmark’d Art buddy Kay Laboda laid out and hung the exhibit and invited me to stay with her during my visit. I hopped on a plane Tuesday morning and Kay met me at the airport. Here’s how I spotted Kay

We drove straight to the museum

I wish I could have been there February 3rd when the museum was buzzing for the opening of the current exhibits. The announcement of the naming of their large gallery space as the Del Thomas Gallery also occurred during the opening celebration. Del is an avid collector of art quilts who established the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection in 1985. I lingered over two exhibits hung as you enter the museum. The first features 40 twelve-inch square quilts from the TCQC. A return engagement for TCQC is scheduled for the summer of 2013 as New Quilts from the Thomas Contemporary Quilt Collection and will feature works acquired since a summer 2007 exhibit at the Museum.

The other exhibit features fourteen-inch-square quilts from the Canyon Quilters Guild challenge Magical Mystery Tour: Homage to the Beatles. Here is Kay with her entry Baby, You Can Drive My Car (top, left)

Next I took in the Art Meets Science exhibit which filled the rest of the museum. Here I am with Nature’s Fractal

This is a sun print of two woodwardia fern leaves on cotton fabric. It is heavily quilted using silk, metallic and rayon threads; painted and hand beaded. The woodwardia fern is one example of the quasi-self-similar fractal as defined by mathematicians. Leaves repeat — though not exactly — in ever-smaller forms.

I completed this work in 2009 and almost immediately sent it off for this traveling tour which will be completed late this year. Everyone I spoke with at the VAM indicated that the exhibit has been very popular and they received lots of positive comments. They sold out of the exhibit catalogue within the first week. It was quite a thrill to see the entire exhibit.

This is the first time Kay and I have met in person, though we’ve communicated on-line for several years now. We enjoyed the opportunity to get to know one another more intimately. Kay is an avid giraffe collector. I had a hint of that before I even entered her home.

Her golden lab Casey made me feel right at home.

On Wednesday Kay shared a few of her favorite places with me. We drove to La Jolla to enjoy the Bay. First stop: Seal Beach.

I don’t have to tell you that it was a day far more beautiful than most expect during the winter! It was the stuff picture postcards are made of. We walked a large circle around a beautiful park following the water and animals. There seemed to be something interesting and fun every few feet — I couldn’t stop clicking the camera!

We encountered wildlife at our feet, in the air and in the water. Brown Pelicans are native to California. They are an endangered species so it was wonderful to see so many in one place. On the sides of cliffs

and in flight

Then there was Tristan, the seven-year-old Toy Pomeranian. He and his human companion enjoy a walk by the water every day. She told us that Tristan would soon have his own page on Facebook.

The lifeguard box, tightly locked, was intriguing

For lunch we drove near the airport with its spectacular views.

We still had about an hour before I needed to be at the airport so we went back to the VAM. Just down the hall from the Visions exhibits is the home of the San Diego Watercolor Society. We toured their current exhibit A Match Made in Heaven. It was wonderful.

In the hallway between the two exhibit venues were some incredible benches

Just outside the museum, in a covered walkway were more benches

So much art . . . so little time. Thank you Kay for sharing your beautiful city with me!

G is for Gray

Not so long ago I was distracted by dryer lint and started running amok. That first sidetracked adventure turned into a successful (by my standards) landscape postcard — affectionately known as the Lint Landscape. Well,  the adventure continued and here I feel I should explain. My fabric postcard trading group Postmark’d Art is in the second round of a trade series based on the alphabet — each round for trading we’ll be using 6-7 letters of the alphabet, members sign up for a letter which they use as inspiration, they create postcards to send to each person in the trade group and keep one for themselves. After four rounds of these trades each member will have a full set of the alphabet. We’re into the second round and the letters available were G, H, I, J, K, L and M. I chose G. While I was felting that first bit of lovely gray dryer lint I hit upon the idea of using Gray as a theme for creating a series of postcards. Not wanting to repeat the same postcard seven times, I began to let my mind wander about the possibilities as I created landscapes. Here’s the second one

That was fun. How about orange?

And gold?

Okay, time to move on design wise and use up the lint. Circles anyone?

And more circles. . .

Fewer circles and the last of the lint. . .

And now for something completely different

So there it is. The creative process beginning with cleaning out the lint trap on laundry day, selecting the letter “G” as inspiration and three different design ideas.

More Lint

Remember the lint landscape from December? I had some lint left over so I felted it. This time I tried something new: I felted it directly to fast2fuse, the double-sided fusible stiff interfacing I use for my fabric postcards. One of my postcard-trading buddies in Postmark’d Art mentioned that she does this.

It worked very nicely! I felted wool roving circles. Next came cotton embroidery floss for hand stitching and last, but never least, beads. Rules to live by: You can’t have too much hand stitching and beading. Because the fusible web on the address side of the postcard was now pretty covered, I decided to add some WonderUnder as insurance for attaching the fabric.

This little project was a lot of fun, I learned several things in the process and I now have a series going.

P.S. My gray dryer lint is gone. Don’t save any for me. I’m moving on.

The Chop Challenge

Last week there was quite a buzz among the Postmark’d Art group about Chops. No, not the kind you eat, the kind you use to sign your art. Jane Davila had a wonderful story she shared about obtaining one while she was teaching in Korea earlier this year. That prompted the question of where one could find someone to make a chop right here in the United States. Sherry Boram found an on-line source which she shared; Kay Laboda found an article on-line with great history and how-to information and a second site which details how to carve your own Chop. Then Sherry remembered that Marjorie DeQuincy uses a Chop to sign all her fabric postcards. “So Marjorie,” wrote Sherry, “do you know any place on your side of the country for Chop-hungry artists to get their fix?”

Well, that did it for me. Marjorie lives near me so I picked up the phone and had a long chat with her about obtaining a Chop in China town in San Francisco. As always, Marjorie had all the inside skinny for me.

Armed with her insights, my husband and I headed to San Francisco last Wednesday morning. We landed parking on the street (unheard of!) and walked by these charming sea creatures. Not there strictly for aesthetic beauty, they keep the skate boarders from battering the cement structure they are on. Note the more blah fixtures on the cement structure just beyond the turtles.

I haven’t been to The City to explore for some time so I detoured to stop by the Ferry Building to see what they had that I couldn’t live without.

Bingo. . . I found a bottle of Sherry vinegar that I’ve been searching for. The trip was already a success! The Ferry Building is such an icon of this city. And so is the view behind the building — the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Onward…Marjorie was explicit about walking straight up Grant Street, the tourist entry to China town. Here we are at Grant and Bush Streets.

Just two blocks up the street I came across Vincent Zhao seated at a card table in front of 555 Grant Ave. He was working on a painted name piece for a woman named Colleen. His sign said $1 per letter but when he finished he announced, “Three dollars, please.” She got a deal! My turn. I told Vincent what I was looking for and selected the Rooster blank from his inventory on the table. I paid $30 for the Chop and a dragon’s blood stamp pad and agreed to return after having some lunch.

Just a little further we came across the Four Seas Restaurant. The menu looked interesting — Chinese cuisine plus dim sum. When I stepped inside the entry to the steep stairway that lead to the restaurant I saw this plaque and decided it was worth a try:

It was Wednesday so we assumed that the hubbub from the rear dining room was the Rotary Club. Another sign at the reception area said that the restaurant has been there since 1960. How could we go wrong? The food and service were good. And there was a delightful group — 40 elementary students plus four adults — dining when we arrived. The whole dining room joined in on Happy Birthday when it was sung for one of the students. When they left, they were in single file and alphabetical order, making it easy for the adults to ensure everyone was accounted for. Amazing.

When we were done with lunch I was eager to get back to Vincent to see what my Chop looked like. And here it is:

and the set:

and Vincent:

As we were leaving China town I noticed this window display:

I know that the color red is considered good fortune but sleeping pigs? I’ll have to look into this.

I’m glad I took the Chop challenge and I can’t wait to use my Chop!

Fabric Postcard Auction

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.