For the last 6 weeks we have been involved in a community art project with local visual artist Denise Stanton creating a family story cloth. There are 2 sections to the cloth one part created by us the other by our family in Chicago.
This has been a great experience, we’ve learnt new skills, met new people & created a piece of work we are really proud of. We created a stash of little pieces of printed & stitched material to make up the story cloth. We also added flashing lights behind the book spines print on the cloth, programmed & stitched by Owen using Lilypad Arduino to include some tech.
The project involved weekly sessions as a family creating pieces for our story cloth by printing into fabric & sewing as well as a couple of morning sessions which I attended alone giving me the chance to focus.
Our first step was creating a design for a screen print. We agreed on books as something we all love & added the family names of those involved in the project.
In possession of our screen print we then learnt about what paints to use, mixing colours & made numerous prints on different fabric. Denise suggested making a patchwork of fabric & printing onto them with a mix of colours.
Other printing techniques included Lino cutting, which I had previously attempted but this time I got to work with colour opening up new possibilities of combining prints on different backgrounds. A key lesson I learned with printing (aside from have an organised space) is to make lots of prints & experiment.
We also discovered some child friendly printing techniques, the simplest was mono printing where we etched out a drawing into the paint then laid the fabric or paper on top to print onto.
We also used some foam to cut out a simple shapes to create a stamp. We used this technique to make a ribbon by making a couple of simple stamps & repeating the pattern onto long strips of cloth.
Another printing technique was easy print/ safe print where the children impressed a design onto a polystyrene type printing material. Easy to use & no sharp cutting tools like the ones used for Lino cutting.
Using these techniques we all learned how simple designs were the most effective and that using the rollers was the most fun part.
Aside from printing I had the chance to overcome my fear of sewing machine, using a machine with a speed setting was a big help. I loved freehand stitching, moving the fabric to make pretty designs was great fun.
My new found confidence with the sewing machine was put to the test when I had to sew on all the different prints and finish with a bias binding bordering to the cloth.
A fantastic project allowing us to celebrate our creativity, be bold with our ideas & turn Owen into a knitter.