Lucky for me, I was recently asked by Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine to participate in an artist's challenge sponsored by Grafix Creative Plastic Films. Even luckier for me, Grafix sent me a package of some really cool products for free! Included in the package: Rub-onz Transfer Film, Ink Jet Transparent Plastic Sheets, Shrink Film, and Dura-Lar Matte Film.
When I opened up all the products, I wasn't sure how I would use these lovely, smooth sheets in my typically texture-filled creations. To be honest, I was a bit nervous. So, like any good crafty one, I just started playing around with everything. I quickly learned that I could use ink, pencil, paint, scissors, and my ink jet printer on these films and that 3 of the 4 could be sewn with my sewing machine. As I worked with the films, I became inspired by their shiny, smooth, layered, and transparent qualities.
For a few months, I've been toying with the idea of making a handbag out of stitched paper. I decided to make one, using these films as both my inspiration and as embellishments for the piece.
I started making my fabric by stitching dictionary pages together, coating them in gesso, and painting them with a thin layer of acrylic paint.
I lined the paper fabric with bright green tissue paper and matte gel medium.
Next, I used Illustrator to create a series of pink and orange feathers (scanned from one of my hand-carved stamps).
Using my ink jet printer, I printed a sheet of these feathers onto the Rub-onz Transfer Film. I cut them out and rubbed them onto my paper fabric in a random pattern. I will warn you... you will need to read the directions for this film. Being a break-it-first-then-read-the-directions kind of person, I wasted some of my free samples. But let's not talk about it here...
To seal my fabric before sewing, I coated both the front and the back with a generous coat of pouring medium. This gave the whole piece a shiny, plastic-like appearance. Next, I printed a few sheets of the feather design onto the Transparent Plastic Sheets and used them as embellishments for the paper fabric and a fabric tie. These were super easy to use. They printed well, were easy to cut, and stitched beautifully in my sewing machine.
After stiching all the embellishment feathers to the paper fabric, I folded and stitched to create a flap closure and two pockets for my handbag.
I really had to hold my breathe as I stitched. I wasn't sure if my sweet machine could manage all the layers of paint, paper, matte medium, pouring medium. To my surprise, she made it (yes, my machine is a lady!)
I'm not sure where I will use this little number. I like to imagine showing off my tan in a cute little sundress and carrying it out to a nice dinner, beachfront somewhere. But, that would mean working on a few things... a tan and getting to a beach. Both actually sound pretty fabulous right now!
Challenges are, well, challenging. I know I've got a good one when I feel a little bit nervous and frustrated. These feelings are good because they force me to move out of my comfort zone and work in new ways. In the end, I am always grateful for the growth, even if I am not sure about the end result.
How do you keep challenges affect you creatively?