Sunday, December 30, 2018

Post-Christmas secret reveal!

Not long before the Christmas holiday I teased a post with a Photoshop-warped image of a secret project I was working on. Now that the surprises have been delivered, I'm tickled to share them with you.

It started with a query from a friend who gifts a special ornament to her husband every year. The aforementioned husband is also a friend and colleague, and 2018 was a rough year for him with health issues. The red-eyed vireo was a memento of a happy time in the midst of challenges... could I perhaps come up with something?

Of course I loved the idea... but what to make, and how? Certainly it had to at least start with a lino... but printed on to what? I'd long wanted to play around with printing on fabric, but didn't have any good way to do anything with the fabric after I printed it. My sewing machine is a 1940s-vintage that hasn't been used in more than a decade... maybe two... it seemed risky.

But then, kismet! I was in an actual fabric store with a friend right after Thanksgiving (What? I NEVER go to stores during the holidays.)... lo and behold! Sewing machines... 40% off! I was able to get a brand new Singer... not fancy but totally functional... for $70. Yeah. Had to do it.

First experiment: Red-eyed vireo ornament for Ted

It took a few tries to get the ink and press pressure sorted out for a good impression on the slightly-knobbly fabric, but I was pleased with the results and so were my friends.

Flush with success I decided to make some others for my own holiday gifts. This led to quite a few late nights as the project got bigger and bigger. In the end I had to limit the number I made... If I tell you that next year (!!??!!) I'll design a simpler shape to sew, you'll know where the biggest time sink was.

Chickadee-dee-dee ornaments. Hand-colored with permanent ink brush pens.

But here they are... a flock of chickadees. Maine's state bird, and the darling of Colorado habitats, so appropriate for friends both here and there. I definitely learned a few things in the making... the kinds of things that make me caution people to not expect mass production any time soon, but perhaps some will turn up again later in the year. You just never know.

Now... back to that snowscape linocut!

13 comments:

  1. Chickadees are my favorite bird! How lovely and so is the Red-eyed Vireo:-)

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    1. Yay, chickadees! I've got a passel of them gorging at my feeders... funny things. They have no qualms at all about standing on the wire from which the feeders are hung... right next to my head... when I come to refill. I can almost hear their little toes tapping impatiently.

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  2. Time-consuming, but with wonderful results! What a great gift for bird-lovers. How about a Kit for your Etsy store for next year? Just the printed piece and backing - let the buyer supply stuffing and ribbon to hang.Limited edition, of course.

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    1. Now aren't you the clever idea person? That's worth considering, thanks!

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  3. look great :D

    I miss chickadees, so cute and tiny

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    1. But you have their tres adorable cousins the tits!

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    2. true and I always smile when I see one :) and they will fly to you for food if they know you well :)

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    3. Probably like chickadees they also stand at bird feeders and demand service if one isn't attentive enough. ;-)

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    4. lol yep they do that too and get really loud when someone shows up they don't know :p

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