Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

Last year, I ran across someone in the blogosphere who had been a part of the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap. 
It looked like a whole lot of fun, and like a really low-pressure but motivating way to play around with the sort of art-quilting that I am always reading about and oohing and ahhing over in Art Quilting magazine.  I read- by which I mean oogle- the magazine every month since Interweave substituted my unfortunately-now-defunct-FiberArts subscription for Art Quilting.  I see projects and think to myself  "I could TOTALLY do that."  But I never do.  And prior to the other day, I hadn't ever really done any work with appliqué or raw edge fabric or fusible interfacing or or or...  Patchwork and embroidery, but both separately.  So I was psyched to come across the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap, which would give me the reason, the motivation, and a supportive community to play with a new medium.  So sometime last year, probably around this time, I signed up to be notified of the next one.  I'd almost given up on it happening again when the time came around this year.  It totally lived up to my expectations!  It was super fun and inspiring.   We were matched up with a partner somewhere in the world with whom to swap postcards.  My post-pal Kylie, lives in Australia and has a beautiful art blog
The theme this year was "Discover."  I tossed around a number of ideas, I chatted with my Darlin' Man about maybe using birch bark... he was a fan of the idea of doing a birch bark canoe in birch bark on my postcard.  I suggested that maybe he would like to join the swap and do that card himself as I had something else in mind.  For some reason he wasn't super-psyched about that idea.  I decided that I wanted to explore "Discover" on an interior and spiritual level.  It is what I spent a month doing this summer after all!
I have prayer flags along the roof line on the upstairs porch that I see out of my bedroom window.  I was noticing them one day, and remembered the stash of worn prayer flags that I have in a trunk in my studio.  I've had prayer flags constantly up at every house that I've lived in for the past 7 years or so.  When the colors get really faded I replace them, and have been keeping the faded flags for an art quilt of some nature.  The current ones on my porch are the first ones that I have had actually disintegrate, the threads dispersing prayers on the wind.  So I decided that I would use a flag as the base layer for my postcard quilt. 

I started thinking about other spiritual depth and discovery associations, and came up with the idea of the skeletal leaf, the hills, and the spiral.  I dug through my stash to find evocative fabrics, working with the theme of this deep and creative blue.  I've been doing dreamwork and analysis the last few months as well, and am working with images of vibrant red and deep electric blue dragons and lizzards from a series of dreams.  So I figured I would explore within that blue color palate...   The diagonal strips are from an old pair of thai fisherman's pants that were made from recycled saris, the purple and gold brocade is from a bag of scraps I picked up somewhere, as is the middle hill.  The patterned cotton cloth is from my stash :-)  I used a bit of a variegated novelty yarn from a prior weaving project as a bit of trim and glitter.

I was so pleased with myself for figuring out how to free-motion embroider on my vintage sewing machine (see below), and I quilted the layers together with a variegated sewing thread.  You can just barely see where I free-motion embroidered "Discover" in the center of the quilt.  And then on top of the hills, there's a shape that reminds me of the red rock formations of Navajo land.  It was a happy accident, as it came from sewing under and between the writing spaces on the back...  But is very fitting and appropriate and really felt like it finished the peice...

I feel like I've discovered a whole new medium, and am really looking forward to exploring what I can do with cloth and thread...  and embroidery. 

I was more than a week late with sending out my postcard, so I mailed it with some Alaskan goodness to my swap pal in Australia....
And just for a bit of shameless bragging, I would like to call your attention to this lovely vintage Sears sewing machine that has served me for a a few years now.   I found her (for free!) at the transfer site.  And, her gears are all real metal, not plastic!

1 comment:

  1. Mmmmmm... Nice interleavings of several creations: a layer cake of ideas!