Also known as “What can I make with a Spoonflower swatch?”
I love to give presents. Seriously! Sometimes these are purchased gifts (I especially love to support local artists and retailers if possible) and sometimes they are things I have made myself.
This year I started entering some of Spoonflower’s weekly fabric design contests and putting some of my designs up for sale through my store. To sell designs, you need to order proofs in the form of an 8″ x 8″ printed fabric swatch to test the quality. With a growing pile of finished proofs, I decided to start using the fabric swatches for personalized projects that would be great as gifts and let me be more sustainable.
My first project is a needle book design that utilizes a full Spoonflower swatch of my “Sew, My Darling” fabric design (small pattern version) and is pretty easy to make! It has an inside pocket on both inside front and back covers and 4 felt pages. I didn’t add too many things inside, but this is definitely a project that could be customized in many ways!
I will be posting a step-by-step needle book tutorial later this week or early next week
These past few weeks have been quite a whirlwind! Last week was the final in Lilla’s MATS course (I plan to do a separate MATS debrief post for the entire experience later!) which focused on party paper. Now.. What is that, you may ask? Party paper is a category within the Gift Market entirely devoted to paper goods – paper plates, paper napkins, gift wrap, invitations, and so on.
Our assignment was to reference the theme of Ukrainian and Bavarian folk art and create our own party paper designs. I worked on created stylized artwork that still read as my aesthetic but pulled elements from what makes folk art unique- the subject matter, layout, selective colors - and interpreted it in my own way.
I ended up having a blast doing these pieces. I think the rooster looks hilarious, he’s kind of got a cheeky look to him (and a bit of a booty! hah). Each piece has unique artwork – no icons are repeated between the plate, napkin, and cup. I also tried a different way to add texture to my illustrations this week and really enjoyed the end result. Florals are an artwork type that I have not explored much, but this project definitely has increased my interest in working with them. I’d like to try out some surface patterns next!
MATS class this past week focused on Editorial! This is artwork for magazines, newspapers, and books which is based on a concept, article, or manuscript - illustration of the written idea. It was extra special because Lilla herself actually began in this field and had an amazing collection of her own published artwork to show us. So inspiring! Editorial is an interesting category as you create a story with imagery instead of just icons under a common theme. Again, something new and challenging but very much fun!
Our assignment this week was to choose a city we were familiar with and create an illustrated map of it, including at least 5 destinations and hand lettering. I thought about what kind of story I wanted to tell with my illustration and decided to create a food journey of iconic independent diners and food producers in Winnipeg, Manitoba. All the places I chose have a long history of awesome food and memories, and I had a fabulous time creating my own artwork for each location. I hand lettered everything except the addresses listed in the box at the top right corner. It was an interesting exercise as aside from the street names, which I created using the same kind of hand lettering, I wanted each location to be very distinctive from one another. Some businesses had existing signage and some did not, in either case I made my own creative interpretation and created new original artwork. I also created a food icon for each location to show a dish or product they are well known for (and I love!). It would be fun to get this made as a print, I think it would be a good piece to hang in my studio!
If you ever visit Winnipeg, or live there and haven’t tried all of these, I highly recommend you do! My stomach is growling just thinking about eating a king burger at Mrs. Mikes
The subject of study for Lilla Rogers’ MATS e-course last week was Scrapbooking! The market has really exploded since my first encounters as a child – no longer just traditional patterns and artwork, it also contains very quirky, stylized, and trendy themes as well. Something for everyone! The products available go beyond sheets of beautifully printed paper, now including things like stickers, stamps, buttons, and crafted paper cut-outs.
Our assignment this week was to interpret the theme of cameras and typewriters, both objects that record events in our lives, and create a page of art that could be used for a scrapbooking collection. I had a fabulous time! As you can see, I channeled the vintage incarnations of cameras (analog rocks!) and typewriters alongside a variety of memory evoking lettering and related objects. I wanted to give a scrapbooker the ability to put their own photo images inside the Polaroid and film illustrations lower on the page, so I made them into frames instead of adding my own illustrations inside. I also took the opportunity to play a lot more with color and adding texture on this artwork and am quite happy with the results! I will definitely be doing more of that in my future work
I’m also taking part in a monthly blog parade link-up with a few of my very talented MATS classmates, you can check out all their posts on Linda Tieu’s blog here!
Two(ish) weeks ago, I started Part B of the e-course Make Art that Sells by the fabulous Lilla Rogers. If you are familiar with my blog, you may recognize the name from earlier this year when I took Part A of the MATS course. It was an absolutely fantastic experience, so when the second session was available for registration I knew I wanted to join again! Part B focuses on 5 new markets (one for every week of the course): Paper, Baby/Children’s Apparel & Decor, Scrapbooking, Editorial, and Party Paper.
I was full of excitement to get started, but unfortunately after the first few days of class I had to divert my focus to a family emergency and the passing of someone I was close to. I wasn’t able to finish my first week project yet – Christmas greeting card designs; or my second week – camping themed graphics or prints for children’s wear, but I do have my preliminary artwork inked up which you can see below. I will eventually get caught up and make sure to post my work on here once I do!
This year I’m participating in The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap for the first time! It’s a really fabulous idea from the mind behind Do What You Love, Beth Kempton, and already in its sixth year. Participants are given a theme, “Celebrate” being this year, and everyone creates a postcard interpreting the idea in their own way. Aside from staying within the theme, the only rule is that it needs to have some type of stitching on it. You are assigned a random partner, could be anyone from anywhere in the world, and mail out your design to them (and vice versa). Pretty cool right?I decided to create all original artwork so it was a bit timely but I’m happy I did it from scratch. I first did some pencil drawings of cake variations and also of the text which was hand lettered. These were then inked up, scanned, and worked on digitally. After I figured out the layout on the computer, I decided to print directly on to my fabric using my home inkjet printer. It’s actually pretty easy, especially if you iron butcher’s paper to the fabric back to stiffen it so it will run through the printer. After few issues with getting it to feed through, I figured out the best process to make it work and it printed with very crisp artwork – yay!
I added hand embroidered details, but didn’t completely fill the artwork with stitches because I thought the interplay of the minimal embroidery and base fabric worked quite nicely. It was a good chance to practice my french knots again Once I finished all the stitching, I applied interfacing to the back and did a less complicated design for the other postcard side on felt (I skipped a photo because the front is much more interesting!), finishing up by sewing everything together by machine.
I had fun making this project and I really enjoyed the new experience of using my artwork for a craft like this. I hope my partner enjoys what I’ve created – I can’t wait to see what arrives in my mail box!
It’s looking like while the semester is full-on, my alphabet posts will be every two weeks! I’m just glad I can still fit it in and also work on my surface pattern collection development G… is for Gharial! And grapes, although the gharial is a carnivore (details, details). The gharial is a crocodilian native to the Indian subcontinent and is sadly critically endangered. They have a very long narrow jaw and the males have a hollow bulbous growth that develops on the end of their snouts. Apparently it allows them to make a hissing noise that can be heard from a kilometer away! They aren’t normally very fun colors so I took some creative liberties here.
Psst! I’m also part of a monthly blog link up organized by the awesome Linda at Tortagialla, check out the monthly round up of all the other fabulous artists here!