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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Small Wonders

I'm in another show! A teeny one, at the Carter Burden Center for the Aging. The people at the Making Art Work program (one of whom is my instructor at the City Quilter) decided to display through June 30 Artist Trading Cards made by local artists, and they asked me to submit some.

ATCs have been around since the late 90s, and originally they were a way for artists to share their work in a small, portable form. The only rules are that the ATCs by 2.5 by 3.5 inches and that they not be sold (the latter rule is now often broken by calling the ATCs something else). They can be made in any medium with any technique, and I make mine using mostly fabric and beads. I learned about them several years ago, and after failing three times in my attempts to take a class about them (through some ludicrous coincidences), I finally got into the class and I started making them. At the class most women were using them as journals, but I was not interested in making them that personal so I decided on song lyrics as inspiration. It has become a series now, with seven done and more in the works.

The ones in the show:
This was the first one I made, a fairly literal interpretation of the refrain from "Starfish and Coffee" by Prince. It's one of my favorite songs, and my college roommate and I spent a fair amount of time singing it at the top of our lungs. I relied mostly on scrapbooking doohickies for the "food," but I could not find anything to represent the ham, not even bacon. I eventually took a snippet of pink fabric and embroidered it to look like a city ham. As for the "butterscotch clouds," the best I could do was a mass of butterscotch-colored seed beads.

"Purple People Eater" by Tori Amos. I had fun playing around with different techniques when I beaded the snow, but if I redo it (and I probably will) I think I will use one technique and make it very regular -- I think that suits the concept of snow and snowflakes better.

"Ghost Story" by Sting. My attempts at goldwork, without using any of the official goldwork techniques. This was a case of more is better. For a long while, as I worked on the "compass star," it looked horrible. But I kept on adding more and more beads and thread, until it finally started to look intricate and rich.

"Violet" by Hole. The color is off, unfortunately (sometimes that happens with my camera, and I don't know why; I tried all sorts of lighting for this), but the fabric is a lovely dark purple silk. I used detached chain stitch for the stars, crossing the legs to make them look like fish. Now that I look at it, the photo is upside down -- the "fish" are supposed to face the opposite direction.

"Autumngirlsoup" by Kirsty MacColl. The beaded bottle I made a long time ago, my own design (hence the unevenness), to go with a mini beaded basket, blanket, and loaf of bread I made from a pattern. I'm especially proud of the tree in the window, with the leaves falling.

"Rama Lama Bang Bang" by Róisín Murphy. I used a real zipper for the black corset, and attached the beaded heart behind it.

"Goodnight Moon" by Shivaree. I knew I could not do real scary, so I went for cute scary, which owes a lot to Where the Wild Things Are. The moon is a mother-of-pearl bead, and I used glow-in-the-dark thread for the teeth and claws.

I have also made other ATCs not part of the series, to give away and to commemorate family members. ATCs are particularly satisfying to make because they are so small and quick to finish, although mine tend to be labor-intensive and very detailed. The next swap in my crazy quilting/mixed media studio class is ATCs, so that will force me to make them less intensive without compromising the design.

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