Once again my thoughts have turned to making something special for Christmas. Each year, I try something a little different, and many of the friends and family on my Christmas card list tell me that they collect the cards, year after year. This time I've decided to share some of the process of making my fabric postcards.
I get pleasure from using up what I have on hand. The variety of materials I have stored away in my studio always surprises me.
I began with a photo I took of a stone angel in a cemetery, possibly at Highgate, just outside London. I cropped the image and used software to transform it to a sepia monotone.
In a drawer I found some sheets of sheer organza, backed with paper, made especially for the printing of photos with an ink-jet printer.
Above, you can see how each sheet of organza yielded six images. On the right is a transparent organza photo, peeled off the backing, with a narrow margin on all sides.
I used a pencil to draw the outlines of the multiple postcards, measuring 6" x 4", onto the cotton print. I left a little space between the rectangles. Rummaging in my printing supplies, I discovered a set of silicone printing letters, complete with a transparent acrylic block, the perfect size for the four letters in "noel". Using an ink pad and a plastic-covered, cushioned printing surface, I carefully printed the word vertically along the right-hand side of each rectangle.
At this point, the length of cotton was "batted up" with a thin polyester batting, and the organza photos were stitched into place, by machine, through both layers.
When I ran out of the cotton print, I reached for a length of hand-dyed, caramel-coloured cotton. The individual cards were then cut out. A stiff, fusible interfacing (Timtex?) was cut into 6" x 4" rectangles, as was some heavy-weight watercolour paper. The final "sandwich" was layered: cotton (with the organza appliqué), stitched to thin polyester batting, then the fusible interfacing, and finally the watercolour paper, all cut to 6" x 4". Because the interfacing was fusible on both sides, a warm iron applied to the sandwich secured all the layers together.
The edges of each card were finished off with a blanket stitch on my trusty Bernina. I used a "dijon"-coloured calligraphic marker to address the cards and write a little message to each recipient.
With a stamp affixed to the paper side, these Christmas postcards bravely ride "bareback" through the postal system. I like to think that they bring a smile to everyone they meet on their journey.