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!