Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Show is Up!

Postcard for my BFA Graduation Exhibition

Gallery Set-Up

Gallery Set-Up

A tiny preview of the set-up of our graduation exhibition.

April 26-29, 2011
Reception: Friday, April 29, 7-9PM

Main Gallery, Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts
The University of South Dakota
Vermillion, South Dakota

Come join us for the reception. It'll be a great time and there will be free food! All of my hand-made items sewn from my fabrics will be for sale.

Many more photos to come!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fabric, Fabric, Fabric

Ptera-Island Fabric Sample

Ptera-Island Fabric Detail

My first large order of fabric arrived on Monday (15 yards). It's all quilting weight cotton. Everything looks GREAT! It's exciting to see the patterns in such large pieces...certainly a different level of impact than a little computer screen or small sample of fabric.

I'm relieved to see how Ptera-Island turned out printed. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was really nervous about that mustardy color, especially on this pattern since it's the background color. But I'm extremely happy with how it looks. I'm once again impressed by how similar it looks printed to how it appears on my screen.

I still can't get over the level of detail that comes through on the fabric. There seems to be a lot of concern among Spoonflower users about light linework on darker colors. So far I've had good luck with white and light colored lines. But, it does appear that light lines print looking about a point thinner than dark lines. Based on how this and my other patterns turned out, I would never use less than a 2 point stroke in a light color. I wouldn't go less than 1 point in a dark color. The lines are quite thin and delicate in those point sizes.

This batch of fabric is all washed, dried, and ironed now. It washed up well with just slight fading on the dark gray background of the Dimetrodon fabric. Let the sewing begin!

The Brachio Scarf

Brachio Scarf

This is the final illustration that will be included in my graduation exhibition. I wanted to try something a little different so instead of setting it up as a repeating pattern, I made it more of a stand-alone piece. I set it up as a scarf with borders (above), which will be printed on Spoonflower's cotton voile. If it turns out looking nice on the cotton voile, I think eventually I'll have it printed in silk too. I love scarves in both natural cottony feeling fabrics and in silk, so the deciding factor ended up being the cost - the silk is pricier. The final hemmed size will be about 53" x 53" on the cotton voile.

I also made it sans border and ordered it on quilting weight cotton for several 18"x18" throw pillows. I'll be using contrasting solids on the backs of all the pillows, probably the yellow for this one. I'm sewing all the pillows as separate cases to go over standard pillow forms, making them more practical since the cases can be taken off and washed as needed.

This order will arrive at the end of this week. The FedEx truck in my driveway is my favorite sight in the world these days.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spoonflower Test Prints

Spoonflower Test Prints

Spoonflower Test Print - Dimetrodon

Spoonflower Test Print - Stegosaurs

Spoonflower Test Print - Amargasaurus

My first three test prints have arrived from Spoonflower! Overall, I'm really happy with how everything looks. The colors are beautifully vibrant and the design details clear and sharp. The colors also turned out surprisingly close to how they look on my screen. The fabric is soft and seems to be great quality. These are in the quilting weight cotton. They're slightly thinner than most quilting weight cottons I've worked with, but not enough of a difference to bother me. I should also mention that these aren't the actual test swatch sizes (8"x8"), they're fat quarters (21"x18"). My patterns are scaled too large to get much of an idea of how they look on just the test swatch size.

On several message boards, people were discussing that most of the darker colors tend to print lighter than expected from Spoonflower. Based on these, I would disagree. The gray (on the background of the Dimetrodon pattern and the cracked earth on the Stegosaurus one) turned out quite a bit darker than I thought they would. A couple of the other colors did as well, though not as noticeably.

So, now I have to decide what changes to make before putting in my big order of these three patterns. I need to get the order in tonight or tomorrow, so no major changes! I know for sure I'll lighten up that gray slightly. The gray on the Stegosaurus pattern did turn out looking a bit bluish, and now I realize it's the warm green background making it look that way. So I'm considering changing it to a different color completely. The other color that's making me nervous is that mustardy-orangey-brown neutral (I'm pointing to it above). I'm afraid some people will find it to be kind of an ugly color, but I like it. I like seeing something somewhat neutral that's a little unexpected like that mixed with brights. I'm not sure if it will seem too out of place with the other colors though. Hmmm, I'm going to be very busy today/night/as the sun comes up tomorrow....

Why yes, we do have a green crushed velvet couch from the '70s. That picture (first one above) doesn't show its full glory, but take it from me, it's a real beauty.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ptera-Islands Pattern

Ptera-Islands Pattern Repeat

Ptera-Islands Pattern Detail

Ptera-Islands Pattern

Whew, this one was a struggle. I thought I was setting myself up for an easy repeat since I planned on lots of empty space for the water around the illustrations. No such luck. I spent almost the whole night on trying to work out a repeat that looked right. I haven't decided if this is as successful as the other patterns yet. I think I need to sleep on it.

I'm a bit disappointed I couldn't carry through on my original vision for an island pattern. I intended to create four or five different islands, each unique, then add several different sea creatures poking out of the waves between the islands. The repeat would end up being enormous, maybe even big enough for me to make an entire curtain panel out of without repeating. But...time is running out for what will make it into my exhibition and I had to move on. That said, I think this turned out pretty well with just the one island. After I graduate and the dust starts to settle, I will definitely revisit the idea.

I know for sure I will be making 18"x18" pillows out of this pattern for the exhibition. The last screenshot shows about how much of the pattern will show at that size. Standard cloth napkins are right around that size range too, so depending on which pattern I decide to base the kitchen stuff around, I might use this for napkins as well. If I end up doing kitchen stuff at all...I'm kind of undecided at this point. So far my patterns seem more suited to living room or bedroom applications. Something about the thought of having a table decked out in dinosaur-themed placemats, napkins, and table runners really makes me happy though! I'll have to decide within the next couple days for sure. Eek.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Stegosaurus Pattern in Green

Stego-pattern repeat

Stego-pattern

Stego-pattern detail

Here's the third design I've ordered the test swatch for. The colors look a little off from what I'm going for. I'm using Spoonflower's fabric color guide swatch to go by and trying to trust the colors I'm seeing printed on the swatch rather than on my screen. It's a bit challenging to work that way. The orange should turn out more rusty, and the gray less bluish. The green and yellow seem fairly accurate. I really hope it comes out close to what I'm expecting and doesn't need much revision.

I'm still a little uncertain about leaving the stegosaurs almost completely the same color as the background, but my intention is for it to read as negative space. Viewed from a distance, I'm trying to make the other elements come forward so the dinosaurs are almost a surprise on closer observation, kind of blending into the environment. I'm afraid it could seem unfinished as it is now though. I'm hoping that seeing it printed on the actual fabric will help me decide if it looks complete.

All right, back to work...

Dimetrodon Pattern Design

My lack of blog posts is really getting out of hand...I am still alive! Graduation is approaching in a month, and my graduation exhibition is less than a month away! I'm using my ongoing textile design project as my focus for the exhibition.

Dimetro-pattern

Dimetrodon detail

I just screenshotted these quick for something to share for now (as you can tell from the 'trash' in the corner of the detail shot). My test swatches for three of my designs are on the way from Spoonflower, and by this weekend I hope to have three more ready to go. I've been working day and night on these, but I still feel so rushed and short on time. It's crazy. I can't wait to actually sleep again after I graduate.

That's all for now! I'll try to remember to do some more postings as the actual fabric starts arriving!