Archive for the tag 'art'


Tuesday’s Child: Rhino Polka

I have been a member of for a long time now. When I first joined, I designed some fabrics using drawings of ferrets I happened to have handy, and they’ve been there, slowly selling, for a couple of years. At this point, I have earned more money than I ever expected, and I’m pretty surprised and grateful for it. But I realized that those designs might need to be updated, and taken seriously, and that I could probably do more, if I really meant it. So I gave myself a challenge: Every week, Spoonflower has a themed fabric design contest, and from now on, I will be choosing one of those themes per month, designing a (COLLECTION OF) fabric, and entering the contest. It has gone surprisingly well so far. I’m a little startled.

Rhino Polka Watermark On that note, my first entry into a contest is Rhino Polka. And the reason I’m posting this on Tuesday’s Child is because this fabric was specifically designed with a large-dot repeat (the dots measure just under 1 3/4 inches) in a sophisticated color palette, for use in housewares. On a canvas-weight fabric, it would be perfect for bags, throw-pillows, curtains, etc. I’m so happy to have it turn out the way I pictured. I don’t know about most artists, but I know for me, that seldom happens.


Wednesday’s Child: Zombie Pinup

zpinupLast year for Valentine’s Day, I helped my husband prepare for a very special photo shoot. The Zombie Pinups website was hosting a Zombie Valentine contest, and we wanted to take part. Zombie Pinups is run by a friend from Zombie Army Productions out of Chicago, and last year’s contest was judged by Matt Valentine; a contestant from Syfy’s Face Off. The prize was a great lot of horror-related swag. So my husband gathered together a team of makeup artists from the area, I helped prepare the set and costumes and he found a model he liked for the part, and we put together an entry. And we won! You can see a gallery of the complete shoot at my husband’s website, but be careful, as some of the images are definitely more risque than others. The giant heart-shaped floor pillow seen at left was my major contribution to the effort, and you can find instructions in another post.


Monday’s Child: 20s Fashion

This beautiful piece is by an artist, Helen Grant, who was regularly featured on the cover and inside Needlecraft Magazines from the early part of the century. It pictures matching mother and daughter dress styles, the patterns of which could be purchased by mail order. It is beautifully done, sweet and so characteristic of the time period. I think it would make a lovely embroidered item, decorations for stationary, or even framed art. Click on the picture to get a larger version.

If you are a crafty person, you may already be familiar with a paper craft technique called Iris Folding. The craft is most associated with greeting cards, but is also used by scrap-bookers and mixed media artists, and even quilters who duplicate the effect in fabric. Strips of folded paper are laid in a pattern resembling the iris of a camera, to fill the negative space cut from a piece of cardstock or other base. Any light-weight papers can be used for the folding, on a base of heavier cardstock, and there are numerous templates available for free online. All right, now that, spurned by my enthusiasm, you have rushed to the WWW to thoroughly familiarize yourself with this craft…

I’m afraid I’m a sort of rebel. The precision of iris folding appealed to me from the very beginning, and also the fact that it reminded me of a type of drawing I was taught in grade school to illustrate infinity. But I’ve tried my had at various methods of greeting-card making, and the truth is, I just don’t use them, and don’t enjoy making them. Also, I found a lot of the standard free templates a little too cute. It just wasn’t my style.

Some time after my introduction to iris folding, I was leafing through a book I’d been given; an old sample book of hand-made Japanese papers. The papers are all so beautiful, but of each there was only a 3″ x 6″ sample page, with writing printed in several places and holes punched in. I considered various ways I could use this paper in a sort of patchwork effect, to get the most bang for the buck, and eventually I hit on iris folding. It uses only small amounts of paper for the folded bits and with only a few exceptions, the Japanese papers were a good weight. But if I was going to use these very special papers, so precious because of their rarity, at least in my world, then I wanted a special project, and nothing I’d seen online would do. I understood the basics of the craft, so I set out to design my own template, and what could be more appropriate for Japanese papers than a Japanese koi?

It worked. It turns out I knew exactly what I was doing. I used a wide variety of papers, even for the white bits, to lend the fish the variety of texture and color of a real koi. Rather than leave it in a flat cardstock frame, I hand-painted a coffee filter to be reminiscent of water. The entire effect is subtle and pleasing, and it does a good job of showcasing the papers themselves.

If you’d like to try the koi, I’ve written basic instructions and drawn out the template. You can download it here. But I encourage you to spend some time squirreling away a little stash of special papers (if you don’t have one of these already) and then strike out on your own in a way to best showcase what you have.