Some people are content to create art for arts sake...not me. I'm a practical girl, I grew up in north west country NSW - Collarenebri to be exact - on a farm: making, repairing, re-purposing. I'm all about beautiful things with a very functional and practical purpose.
On the weekend I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous workshop with renowned fabric designer and artist, Julie Paterson. Her LookDrawPrint workshops are wonderfully fun and everyone in the room went home with a unique and personal printed piece of fabric.
Here is Julie with her Imperfect Manifesto - what a fabulous creed to live by.
The journey from concept to design was certainly a little uncomfortable for me. I really do consider myself as creative but in a crafty sense as opposed to artistic. Luckily Julie, and probably a few others in the room too, had been to art school and were all over the concepts of composition, colour and scale. I certainly needed some friendly jabs in the right direction and about halfway through the process I thought my 'design' was never going to recover from looking like a bunch of goldfish and hand grenades!
I'm happy to say though that the end result bears zero resemblance to the dreaded goldfish / hand grenade combo. By layering, and softening, then finishing with the very bold colours of 'easy blue' and 'very black' the background became...the background...yay! And the foreground became the prominent design feature...phew!
Here it is...drumroll please…….
My very first original fabric design....
Of course, my intention was always to make lampshades from mine. I asked around the room: "what are you planning to use yours for?" and nearly everyone wasn't really sure. One lady Katie was going to make a couple of nice big cushions as she had attended the class previously so now had two coordinating designs...although its better to have three coordinating cushions (apparently!) so perhaps she'll attend again.
At my table was beautiful Dany, an mature French beauty with an eye for colour, and a lifetime of drawing, painting, and printing skills. Her work began with gum leaves that had little bite marks taken out - the silhouette printed so beautifully in blues, oranges and then blended into greens as the layers formed. Then she printed large scale gum nuts over in a more formal arrangement.
Dany's is top left, the other three I regrettably can not remember their names but their designs are just beautiful! Click through to LookDrawPrint for more
Another design, I suggested should be stretched on a canvas as it was really a beautiful artwork. ...not sure she was 100% convinced but I hope she does. It has pretty pink dots in loose lines as the background and lovely flowy fern print with a large negative space that really made the best of both the background and foreground - sorry no photo of that one.
Everyone else in the class just really didn't quite know what to do with their one-of-a-kind, hand printed, carefully designed pieces.
So after all that wonderful arty immersion I'm guessing some of the people in my class were heading home with their beautiful fabrics and will tidily pop it away in a cool dark drawer and it may never see the light of day again.
This is no good!
Each of those pieces deserves its day, well I would argue years, in the sun!
So what practical purposes could these beautiful fabrics take on? Here are my suggestions:
1. Lampshades ;-) (fancy that!)
3. A Shoulder bag
4. Add a panel to a skirt or t-shirt
5. Add a panel to a shopping bag
6. Use as visible mending patches on your ripped jeans
7. Add a hem to a mini-skirt to make its a more respectable length ;-) or just shorten a skirt and add the new hem - linen and denim are a great combo
8. Stretch the whole piece over a stretched canvas and hang as an artwork - yes, it is an artwork!
9. Tea towels, table runner, napkins, a sewing kit case, jewellery wrap .......
There must be a thousand things you could do - comment below with your suggestions. I made this Pinterest board to give you some inspiration.
If you'd like to turn your beautiful handmade fabric into a lampshade why not book into a workshop with me ... and stay tuned as Julie and I have a little plan up our sleeves to present a collaborative workshop soon - one day of printing and another day of lampshade making. Register your interest by sending me an email and mention you are interested in both Julie's LookDrawPrint and my lampshade making workshop.
Stay tuned for another post where I'll show you my print transformed into lampshades. Check Julie's website for other workshop dates.
One more thing, to make the fabric useable after the LookDrawPrint workshop it needs to be heat set with a hot iron on reverse for at least 5 mins or a tumble dryer on hot for 15 mins. Have fun people!