'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Tuesday 27 January 2009

After a successful day yesterday...

today has been frustrating. I spent this afternoon working on some fabric postcards that just didn't work. And nor did my design exploration.

The cards are for an 'Around the World in 20 Quilts' swap, 'Seasons'. I wanted to use part of this poem by Swinburne - the fourth verse - because it expresses my feelings about winter and spring so well.

So the plan was:

  1. use transfer crayons to sketch a landscape and print it on some green polycotton;
  2. print the verse on tissue paper;

  3. fuse the tissue to the background;

  4. add some flowers - a bit vague this, i was designing on the hoof;

  5. back and edge finish the post cards.

Simple! Not.

The first mistake was the green polycotton - it is almond green, not spring green and it didn't work.

The second mistake was using transfer crayons, which always end up looking - well, like crayons. It would have been better to use transfer paints. Although I quite liked the look of the paper after I had ironed off the print onto the polycotton. I thought of using white polyester instead of green - but the only white poly fabrics I have are sheers or satin, neither of which is the effect I want.

Third mistake - printing the poem in a font I can't read.

Fourth mistake - printing the verse out exactly to postcard size, and then cutting it exactly to size. I have done this so often I ought to know better! By the time I got the verse on the background there was no room to add an edging and no room to add the flowers without hiding the verse.

And the 'silk' flowers I decided to add didn't go with that artificial green.

So this was definitely a learning experience.

The design exploration was a learning experience too. The idea came from Maggie Grey [again] - paint an ink jet print out with Quink blue-black ink and then discharge it back to the print with bleach.

Simple! Well - yes - but I don't find the results very inspiring, I think because the print I started with, the pebbles, wasn't suited to the method.

This is a collage of my usual four scans. The original is bottom right. Yes, I did say it was blue-black ink. Not turquoise.

I started off trying to discharge the negative spaces between the pebbles but because they were dark in colour the results didn't show. At the bottom of the image I discharged the lighter pebbles. It does give a watery look, but I am definitely underwhelmed by it. [Interesting - I didn't think underwhelmed was a real word - but Blogger's spellchecker does. Although it doesn't recognise 'Blogger's'.]

Of the four scans, the negative is the most interesting, because the colours are unexpected - definitely a 'hot coals' look, except that they also look to me as if they are floating. For some reason it makes me think 'canvas work' although I am not sure why, and it might be difficult to get the subtle shading. My other idea is massed French knots and beads.

This evening I am intending to sew ribbon round the edge of the not landscapes to hide the staples. [No, I hadn't forgotten about them.] Not much can go wrong with that - can it?

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