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'curiosity cabinet' fabric available @ spoonflower

Since making my ‘Curiosity Cabinet’ repeat pattern design and having a test length of fabric printed by Spoonflower w-a-y back in their beta days (2008!!), I have received lots of positive responses from kind folk, and requests to make the fabric available to buy on Spoonflower. I hadn’t been completely happy with my original test piece so before making it available for purchase I wanted to tweak the design to incorporate some different creature drawings, and to make some minor colour adjustments (for better light/dark contrast when printed).

'curiosity cabinet' fabric available @ spoonflower

I finally got around to making these changes towards the end of last year and was very happy with the new test print I ordered from Spoonflower. The fabric shown in the four pictures above is printed by Spoonflower on their ‘silky faille’ – I chose to test print on this fabric (despite it being 100% polyester – my preference ordinarily being natural fibres such as cotton and linen) because I was advised by another Spoonflower user that dark/light colour contrast works particularly well on it. And indeed it does! (thanks Chris, a.k.a. pricklymonkey)

You can find this design available to purchase, printed on any of Spoonflower’s numerous different fabric types, here >>

'curiosity cabinet' fabric, blue variation

I have also experimented with a dusty, teal-y blue colour variation (above), although this is not currently available to purchase as I have yet to order a test swatch (a Spoonflower ‘quality control’ requirement). If you’re interested in purchasing the blue (which you can find here >>) let me know, and I’ll do what’s necessary to make it available to buy.

And if you do make anything using this fabric I’d love to see some pictures of your completed project(s)!

hmmm... tasty, individually packcaged snacks!

hmmm… tasty, individually packaged critter snacks!
now… how do i get into this jar?

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

The Zeeuws Museum in Middelburg has a series of six magnificent wool and silk tapestries, made between 1593 and 1604 that tell the story of Zeeland’s most important sea battles fought against the Spanish during the Eighty Years’ War (1568 – 1648). The tapestries are vast in size and the sea battles depicted are very epic indeed…

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

… but as I don’t know much about ships or care much for battles I was most interested in the small, beautiful details at the water’s edge…

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

… and the flora and fauna depicted in the tapestries’ intricate borders.

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

There are many other fascinating and beautiful artefacts to be found at the Zeeuws Museum, presented in a fresh & simple manner which works beautifully to enhance the history, the detail, and the (long lost) craftsmanship of the objects.

I usually try to make a note of the things I am inspired by and photograph in museums… but on this trip I was short of time and eager to see as much as I could. Apologies therefore that I cannot provide much information on, or attribution for, several of the objects pictured below.

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[top: carved ivory comb ?]
[bottom: mummy of a child (organic material, textile, wood, paint), Egyptian, c.332]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[top: the Egyptian mummy again]
[bottom: more intricately carved ivory… wish I’d made a note of what this thing is! A Chinese puzzle ball, perhaps?]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

colour parallels…
[top: painting, Dutch, 19th Century ?]
[bottom: ceremonial woman’s blouse or huipil (cotton, silk), K’iche Maya / Quetzaltenago, Guatemala, 1930-1940]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

a very beautiful stitch sampler… hard to believe it was made almost 120 years ago – the patterns and colours (especially that almost-fluorescent pink!) seem very contemporary [Netherlands, 1896 ?]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[pig mask worn by a dancer during harvest rituals (wood, rattan, feathers, mirror glass), Dayak / Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia, 1930 – 1960]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[top: Guido Lippens ‘Memento’ (oil on panel, sawn, burnt), Middelburg, 2002-2003]
[bottom: monkey skulls ?]

Zeeuws Museum, Middelburg, Zeeland

[top: war hat (rattan, leather, teeth, shells), Lesser Sunda Islands,
Indonesia, 1850 – 1900]
[bottom: shards of ancient green glass ?]

Yarn-y goodness at Purl SoHo, NYC

While in New York back in late April I visited the much heralded Purl in SoHo… as a sometime-crafter (sort-of) it would’ve been daft not to, and I was not disappointed! They have a great selection of fabrics of which I was especially drawn to the designs (new to me) of Etsuko Furuya, and in particular this wonderful ‘Bat’ design…

I couldn’t resist buying half a meter of it with a view to turning it in to a couple of cushion covers. Finally, almost two months later, I found a spare several hours (I’m not a quick sewer!) to do just that. I’m very happy with the results because I cannot help but smile every time I see those nifty bats flitting about in their turquoise sky (and sitting on the floor – often my preference – has become even comfier :)

Here are some more of Etsuko’s beautiful, quirky fabric designs…

‘Leaf’ in (l) grape & (r) grey

(l) ‘Flower Bed’ in aqua blue & (r) ‘Bird to Hang’ in oxblood

(l) ‘Animals’ in raspberry & (r) ‘Cobweb’ in black

(l) ‘Bus’ in natural & (r) ‘Camera’ in turquoise

I’m particularly keen on the designs combining creatures and slightly abstract, organic shapes (like the ‘Bat’ design!) but you gotta love the old-school cameras and buses too!

The 8 fabric swatch images above were sourced from superbuzzy, an online store for Japanese fabrics. Their full range of ‘Echino by Etsuko Furuya’ fabrics can be found here >

And Etsuko’s fabric design website can be found here >

A long overdue shout-out to a fellow blogger (and talented fibre artist, Melanie Testa) who, on reading my post about my first attempts at block printing fabric a while back, suggested a swap and offered to send me some pens she has found useful for temporarily marking dark fabrics. I enthusiastically agreed (who could resist the lure of fun and interesting mail to look forward to!) and was thrilled to receive the following in the post a couple of weeks ago:

lovely stuff in the mail

In addition to the very useful pens Melanie sent a beautiful piece of her own rice paste resist, indigo dyed fabric. It’s a stunning colour – a deep, intense indigo blue (the pics below are a more accurate representation of the colour than the pic above). I love the lively, fragmented ‘starburst’ motif (and Melanie’s journal page bird drawings and mixed-media/collaged envelope).

rice paste resist, indigo dyed fabric by Melanie Testa

The interweb is populated by so many talented, generous people. Thanks so much Melanie!

While in Japan a couple of years ago I bought two pieces of fabric found in a ‘bargain bin’ on the Nara shotengai (they were a steal at a couple of hundred Yen!). I think they were produced using a similar method of stencilled rice paste resist and indigo over-dyeing (katazome). I have been um-ing and ah-ing about what to do with them, not wanting to destroy them through ineptitude, and so have done nothing! The arrival of Melanie’s piece of fabric has inspired me to haul them out of their storage box and give their application some serious thought. Don’t they all look lovely together?

rice paste resist, indigo dyed fabrics

About a year ago I was all fired up to do some printing, so I bought a piece of linoleum, cutting tools, a roller and some ink. Other projects took precedence & general ‘stuff’ got in the way and the fire turned to ash… and the piece of lino eyed me accusingly every time I opened the cupboard in which it was stored.  Then Jesse published this fantastic tutorial for block printing fabric (part 1, part 2 & part 3), which rekindled the fire… it’s still taken me months and months but I’ve finally got around to cutting that lino and trying my hand at a bit of fabric printing.

One of my initial hurdles was my inability to draw a design I felt would be simple enough for a first attempt at cutting and printing with lino (e.g. these were initially drawn with block printing in mind! Too much for me but it’s obviously possible if you have the skills!). After a bit of sketchbook doodling I arrived at a design I thought I could handle for this first attempt. 

sketchbook doodles

 

l: transferring the design to the lino before cutting
r: the cut lino block (I think this is some kind of ‘easy cut’ lino – it’s a bit too ‘spongy’ for my liking and next time I’ll try a ‘denser’/firmer type of lino)

 

… and the printing process (‘action shots’ courtesy of the narcoagent – ta!)

(I used a white chalk pencil to lightly mark up the block’s positioning as my water soluble fabric marker didn’t show up on the black fabric and I don’t have nifty ‘tailor’s chalk’. The vertical columns were drawn before starting the process, horizontal rows were indicated with two small ‘registration marks’ drawn at the top of the block after each printing. The chalk pencil washes out easily after printing is complete and the ink has been heat set)

 

Three things I’ve learnt from this first attempt at block printing fabric:

1. It’s TIME-CONSUMING!

2. There’s no need to grip the roller’s handle with blister inducing pressure when printing each impression (but the resulting blisters are kind of satisfying!).

3. No matter how steady your hand or clean and tidy your working practices/environment every impression of the block will be subtly different. It’s this built-in, and unavoidable, imperfection (a kind of wabi-sabi-ness) that endears me to the process.

 

Here is the completed fabric (each dot was printed individually – I tried to position the dots in roughly the same places but this part of the process was just ‘eye-balled’ and not ‘measured’ in any way… so the dots have a very, um, ‘organic’ quality!):

I’ve called the design ‘Verdigris’ for the colours, and for the way my very unscientific mind imagines verdigris spreads out & ‘blossoms’ to colonise the weathered surfaces of copper, brass and bronze.

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copyright

All images and words on this site are © suzanne norris / sakurasnow unless otherwise specified.

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A gift from a friend @jessebreytenbach a couple of years ago, this tiny, beautiful artwork has taken on a deeper poignancy and significance… [Artist: Stephanie Simpson @me_and_norman] - #stayhome #isolation #art #hope #collage #foundtext #goldleaf #gold #crescent #moon #spring #blue #sky #birds #seagulls #soar -
There’s a cat among the pigeons... A very good reason to #stayhome Be safe, be well. - #idiom #pigeons #cat #grayson #grey #greeneyes #ThinGreyDuke #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #GraysonTheGreat #socks #catsofinstagram #catsofholland -
Venetian grafica, part II - #venice #winter #urbanenvironment #streetart #graffiti #urbanart #vermeer #scubamask #architecturalsculpture #stonework #pinecone #water #reflections #canals #seaweed #shrine #jesus #lion #planetearth #strongman #flare #emergency #climatechange #pattern #texture #colour #art - Credits: The ‘woman in scuba mask’ street art is by Blub, based on Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ c.1665. Other artist’s unknown (to me). - [Photos taken in November 2019, shortly before this vulnerable, fascinating city was once again flooded, and long before Italy went into the current lockdown state]
Venetian grafica, part I (part II to follow, because Venice is an incredibly visually rich place – what textures! what colours! what magnificent, ancient urban decay! – and I was incapable of culling my photos down to just the ten permitted by IG in a single post!) - #venice #urbanenvironment #streetart #graffiti #urbanart #architecturalsculpture #stonework #medieval #embellishment #grotesque #chimera #water #reflections #canals #damp #edvardmunch #scream #selfie #baroque #vivaldi #scubamask #violin #owl #tourist #raven #plaguemask #pattern #colour #art #climatechange - Credits: The ‘man with violin’ street art is by Blub, based on an anonymous portrait of (probably) Antonio Vivaldi c.1723. Other artists unknown (to me). - [Photos taken in November 2019, shortly before this vulnerable, fascinating city was once again flooded, and long before Italy went into the current lockdown state]
The only thing crazier than one one-lunged-wonder is two one-lunged-wonders! - #grayson #onelungedwonder #MegaLung #ThinGreyDuke #GraysonTheGreat #doppelgänger #doublevision #tightsqueeze #thecrazies #grey #cat #greeneyes #darkroom #blackoutcurtain #window #reflection #russianblue #catsofinstagram #catsofholland
Glasgow grafica… - #glasgow #scotland #winter #urbanenvironment #streetart #graffiti #urbanart #mural #mushrooms #amanitamuscaria #highrise #highway #creatures #animals #cat #entangled #yarn #birds #beak #steeple #sandstone #gardenshed #hedgehog #treeskeleton #silhouette #concretejungle #pattern #colour #art - (December 2019)

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