I was so excited when Katy at No Big Dill announced she was doing another chapter of her Once Upon A Thread series last week. In case you've haven't heard of it before, it's a sewing series inspired by children's books. It's my favorite sewing series out there by far. I decided I was going to participate, laundry monster be damned. I needed an artsy project. I've been out on maternity leave since baby Jane arrived, which is fabulous timing on my part since my leave lasted through the end of the school year. Now it's summer and I don't go back to work until August. But to tell you the truth, I kind of miss my job (I teach elementary art). Parts of it anyway. I miss the art making part. I needed some sort of messy art project to keep my hands busy.
I chose the book Press Here by Herve Tullet. It's one of my new favorites. I have quite a collection of children's books at school but I'm now starting a collection for my new little bundle (exciting!). It's a simple picture book that asks the reader to do certain things to dots- press, rub, blow, clap- and on each page the dots change. It's sort of a play on our obsession with all things electronic and interactive. I love the dots. I was inspired by the illustrations. I thought the simplicity would work well as a fabric design.
I'm pretty sure the original illustrations are painted, but I thought they resembled a monoprint. And I wanted to try monoprinting on fabric. A monoprint is simply a one-of print. Typically anytime you make a print you make multiples. A monoprint is different because it's a one time deal. Whenever I teach monoprinting to my kids at school, I tell them it's a print of a painting. I figure that's a good way to explain it in elementary school terms.
Traditional monoprints are done on glass or Plexiglas using a press. At school we do them on leftover pieces of laminating film. I ended up using a roll of clear cellophane I had. It was cheap and I had a large area to work from. You need something non-porous so the paint sits on the surface and doesn't dry very fast. It's really easy to do. You paint on whatever slick surface you are using. I used some Plaid screen printing ink I had. Then lay your fabric on top to print your image. I rolled over the back of my fabric with a brayer to make sure everything transferred. I laid a piece of paper down first so the ink didn't get all over my brayer.
One of the things I love most about this elementary school style monoprint is that you can really see brushstrokes. That's the main reason I wanted to monoprint the dots instead of just painting them on the fabric. There is kind of a subtractive nature to monoprinting that you can't get from straight painting on fabric. Some parts dry and don't print. And it was fun. That's a good enough reason, too.
So it was successful! I printed the dots and then the stripes just because. Then I made up the dress version of Simplicity 1813, the same pattern I used to make baby Jane's sunsuit. It's a great little pattern. You could probably do something a lot cooler with monoprinting on fabric but this was a fun experiment. And I think baby Jane looks pretty darn cute in her new dress. I made the little bow, too. I've never considered myself a bow person before but who can resist on a face like this.
And even though baby Jane is just a babe, she loves being read to. She's just now discovering she can reach out and touch things and this book is perfect for a little one who is just figuring out how to use those hands. Look at all those dots begging to be touched.
She's saying, "Hands! HANDS, Mom! These things are great!"
I speak baby now in case you were wondering.
Hooray Katy for your awesome series! I had so much fun working on this. Go check out all the awesomeness over at No Big Dill, folks.