Download Batwing Headband Pattern
Download Batwing Headband Pattern
Gentleman Doll is a mask makers YouTube channel of note! I suggest you check it out and subscribe! Gentleman Doll (PDF)wear glasses sAvailable in multiple sizes DIY Mask Making
Gentleman Doll sometimes provides PDFs for print out, and in the case of the mask you see here, the PDF can be found in the description of the above linked YouTube video.
Their videos are visual, without words or voice over. Gentleman Doll does not center themself in the camera’s field of vision. But, their backlog of patterns and videos is extensive. The patterns are easy to understand, well thought out and fairly easy to execute.
Gentleman Doll uses centimeters, so I have obtained two new rulers to accommodate my explorations with this mask maker
These mask have a nose wire sewn into the arch of the nose. I am sewing all sizes for my Etsy and for local give away.
This mask goes great with Carrie Bloomston’s Newspaper fabric too!
The PDF pattern is graded to sizes Small (child), Medium (teen), Large (Adult) and Extra Large (Adult). This is what is called a 3D mask, as it has a cup like shape that fits from nose to chin and across the cheeks. It fits onto the face by way of ear elastic.
Being a visual learner, I respond well to learning from Gentleman Doll by watching their videos. I understand some folks might rather have written words to follow, and if that is the case for you, maybe Gentleman Doll isn’t a good fit for you. But if it is, Gentleman Doll has some great content. This isn’t the only mask by Gentleman Doll that I have made!
I am sold on this YouTube channel and all of the work that Gentleman Doll puts out.
None of us could have known what it would mean to experience a pandemic, to be asked to ‘shelter in place’, or to wear a mask when leaving home. So many of us have lost our work and income. Some of us are able to work from home, an awesome benefit, if it is possible.
For my part, I went from having a decent job, teaching arts and crafts to middle school kids, to making masks for essential workers and folks who need them. A friend, knowing my predicament, set up a Go Fund Me to help me get paid for making the masks, to help with shipping, packing and getting them into the hands of folks in need. Additionally, I started selling masks through Etsy.
Then, I put a call out for supplies and fabric donations to support these efforts. And you know what? Folks are helping! Folks are enabling me to make masks and give them to those in need!
Look at at all of these supplies!!
Asking for help is hard! It is embarrassing. On the one hand, I want to do this work for free. I want to be a hero who asks nothing of others, but does the thing and gets it done. On the other, I need contribute to my household without placing additional strain on our finances.
I find, asking for help to be a blessing. It contributes to my sense of community and group effort. It reminds me that I am not alone. I am supported, cared for and I know that my efforts and skillsets are valued. And then the verbiage turns to, ‘we’. We are working together to offer masks to local NYC essential workers.
Because of this, I have had the opportunity to experience my fellow New Yorkers in new and beautiful ways.
Like 2sailingchefs, who works with a local business called Naturally Delicious. Herve, as I have come to know him, received a farm print mask and geez! This print is a perfect pairing for him (click the first link in this paragraph to see Chef in his mask)! Herve went on to purchase masks for his workplace, and you, helped UP his order, with my Buy One, Give One program! We gave three additional masks to this local business.
Thank you for helping me make a difference. Thank you for affording me the opportunity to create goodness. Thank you for allowing me to ask you for help then and providing it. Pins, bias tape makers, sewing machine needles and friendly, caring connection.
#MellyMasks are made using the Nurse Made pattern, with the benefit being that it can be worn over the N95 mask, extending its use. They are made using two layers of quality quilter’s cotton and can be washed and dried.
There are several ways to purchase or donate masks.
I am offering masks for sale through my Etsy shop! When you purchase an individual #MellyMask through my Etsy, you are purchasing two masks, one for yourself, and one that I will give away to local essential workers. Check my artist insta to see the giveaways! Right now, my Etsy contains masks made of my own fabric lines, Meadowlark by Windham Fabrics and Florabunda! by RJR fabrics.
Monetary donations to my Go Fund Me will help me to make, ship and give masks to medical workers, bus drivers, park workers and grocery store employees. My current goal is to get 12-24 masks into the hands of my previous employer (I was let go, but hope to get called back after all this is over). Please consider donating in support of this next push to mask my local peeps!
It thrills me to be able to give masks to essential workers, I am thankful for your help and support. Being able to stay centered in gratitude, while giving thanks, one mask at a time, is a beautiful thing!
If you are willing, please help me replenish my art supplies through my Amazon Wishlist.
This mask making endeavor is enabling me to remain centered in gratitude, giving, and appreciation for the labor of ‘Essential Workers’.
Please check out my Go Fund Me.
I get to do this work, while also navigating my response to living in Brooklyn, New York during a pandemic, in a hot spot. Making and giving masks out is helping keep me steady and focused on a task. Living in a tiny apartment, with no access to private or easily accessible outdoor space, while experiencing intermittent access to a laundromat is quite a challenge. This weighs heavily on me, I often feel hemmed in. Mask making is a fitting distraction.
Plus, I GET TO give good quality cotton masks away for free! (I am pretty sure you should order too many masks and try giving them away yourself!!) We could make the thrill a trend! And get all our friends behind masks while we do!
Also? Masks require smize! Practice your smize, today!
So, this is how it works. If you would like masks for you and your family, consider this pricing structure for your donations:
10$ per mask
1-5 masks ship in USPS Flat Rate envelope for 7.75$
6-10 masks ship in USPS Flat Rate small box 8.80$
25+ masks ship in USPS medium box 15.$
If you live outside the United States, contact us for a shipping estimate.
We (Flat Retreat and I) are asking for additional donations to ensure Essential Workers, including mental health care workers, produce delivery, postal workers, grocery store employees and park workers, get masks free of charge.
I ship masks from this post office twice a week. Each time I drop of masks to be shipped to individuals, I drop masks into the mail slot! I hope the postal workers can use them.
I have put together an Amazon wishlist of supplies. Some of these supplies will help replenish my personal stash, others will help me offer new and improved designs with cinch toggles and nose bridge strips. And, well, I put two items in there because I really wouldn’t mind having them. A person can dream. 🙂
I am extremely grateful to Leslie Tucker Jenison, who donated fabrics from Urban Garden by RJR Fabrics for this effort. And, I also give thanks to Lyric Kinard who donated some great thread and more fabric to the cause. And to Jeannette, I have more Snoopy and John Deere to sew! That has been fun to blow through! Thank you. I am glad beyond measure, to use as much of my own stash as possible! I love being able to trim my stash back, but it is great to receive donated cloth too.
Please, if you have yardage you would like to donate, please contact me.
And, last but not least, I can do special orders. They take longer, but I will do my best to accommodate your requests! Specific fabric requests are not always possible. The mask you see above, a neat shield style mask, was made as a special order, using a pattern made by Judy Coates Perez for Makers Space.
Thank you for helping me get masks into the hands of Essential Workers. Thank you for keeping me occupied with good work! It feels amazing to be working with you to get this work done. High five.
Four weeks ago, I was let go from my job as an Arts & Craft Specialist for a local after school program. Covid_19 has arrived and New York City is in lockdown. I have time on my hands and am in need of serious distraction.
Being a creative person who likes to make things to occupy my time, I began making cloth masks. As I did so, I noticed that my best friend, an Essential Worker, working in a mental health facility, was not being properly supplied with protective gear. My awareness of this need grew when a therapist I know told me she was exposed to Coronavirus in a session. Then my friend, Stacey a mental health care worker and organizer of Flat Retreat, did a jig on Facebook, in a mask, which I had heard, were being rationed by her employer. And I realized, mental health care workers need masks too.
So, I set out to make masks for those people that I could. So far, I have mailed out 90 masks and I am now receiving requests for even more!
After receiving some of my masks, my friend Stacey wanted to make sure that I could continue to make and mail masks to those in need, so she set up a Go Fund Me, to enable my mask making endeavor. Now, I am requesting your help, by way of monetary donation.
These masks are made to fit over N95 masks, prolonging their efficacy. Cloth masks are recommended for use by the general population by the Center for Disease Control in controlling the spread of Covid-19. Please inform yourself as to the benefit and limits of cloth masks. Here is an article titled, How NOT to Wear a Mask. And here is a User’s Guide to Face Masks.
Please enable me to make masks and distribute these masks.
When you make a donation, let me know if you need #MellyMasks for yourself or if you would like to supply masks to Essential Workers-or both! Please donate extra money, so that I can make and give masks to the Essential Workers I rely on each day. If you would like to arrange for shipping outside of the U.S., please comment. If you cannot afford a masks, but would like them, please comment. I will do what I can to ensure each person can get a mask.
1 mask 18$ (1 mask and flat rate USPS shipping envelope) each additional mask, 10$ each. So, 6 masks 68$ This is a ballpark figure, to give you an idea on pricing, it isn’t set in stone.
Mask making keeps me indoors and focused on working for the greater good! Living in New York City is not easy right now! So far, I have made and mailed 90 masks. I have 140 masks cut and ready to be sewn. Some are John Deere fabrics!!! I function better when I am driven to an end. Right now? I want masks on everyone I see.
I plan to food shop this week, with the intent to donate 24 masks to my local Whole Foods. Last time we shopped, I saw so many employees with NO masks. If I can bridge that gap? I want to! I am lucky enough to be able to stay home and I have both the skill and the time to make masks and help others.
Thank you for helping me fund this endeavor!! Thank you for keeping me busy and in a few boxes of pasta, while trying to make a greater difference!! Let’s spread color and good care to the faces of all who contribute and beyond! If you receive masks from me, please post a selfie with the hashtag #MellyMasks and show me your mask wearing mug!!
If you would like to donate cloth, please comment. I prefer yardage, 1.5 yard cuts of quilters cotton, if possible.
Please, help me get these masks onto the faces of the Essential Workers in my orbit.
Amidst the wale of sirens, an aerie, unnatural silence has fallen, here in Brooklyn, New York. Covid-19 is here. We have been asked to refrain from non-essential travel, to #stayhome and when we need to go out, to ‘social distance’ or pass our fellows with at least a 6 foot berth. We carry hand sanitizer, keep our hands away from our faces and we leave our houses at a minimum, in order to exercise and food shop. The subway continues to run with a modified schedule. The roads are clear of most traffic.
The birds are building nests and singing to attract mates. Trees are blossoming. Daffodils are breaking ground and opening their bright yellow trumpets. All while some neighbors shutter their homes and others come down with the virus. My Man, thankfully, is able to work from home, and I was temporarily let go from my part time job. And while I can apply for unemployment, the NY state unemployment website has crashed and the phone lines drop calls, just before the final filing step. So many people are trying to apply at once, and the system cannot support it.
Going to the grocery store feels like a threat, as everyone needs food and there is no way to tell who might be infected. This is when the numbers and statistics begin a cacophony of warnings and protective barking. 1 in a 1000 people are infected. 27,000 people live within a square mile of space, here. The mayor suggests that 40-80% of New Yorkers will become ill. NYC needs ventilators and our hospitals are running out of much needed supplies.
I continue to Dance Walk, leaving my home early. Walking the less trodden areas. Crossing the street upon coming up on a fellow. Unfortunately, the gateway to viewing the Lady Liberty has been locked, for the time being. I will find a new way to visit her, she is my balm. This is the last image I took of her:
In the meantime, my Man and I are doing well enough. My city doesn’t sound right. This does not feel like the hope that spring usually embodies. None of us know how long this will take. All we can do is take care, wash our hands, be brief in our outside endeavors, while we remain in good cheer.
We are in the midst of a monumental moment. We are being asked to stay inside as much as possible, due to the possibility of catching Covid-19. If we go out, it is suggested that we stay a distance of six feet away from our fella beings. But getting some fitness on can help lessen anxiety, provides a change in scenery, and well, it’s good for you.
Enter, Dance Walking.
Using a great playlist, put your headphones on, get out there and throw some caution to the wind! You can keep your distance, of course! Crossing the street to keep space provides an additional distance and more time to do those dance moves!
When you don’t care what you look like, and you are dancing for the fun of it, you will attract some attention! Make eye contact! Smile big. Spread your joy, like butter, on hot and crispy toast.
Since the virus has been a concern, I have noticed folks are less willing to make eye contact. That’s not good.
This morning, during my dance walk, I made sure to say, ‘Good morning!,’ with a big smile and a friendly wave, whenever possible. Fostering interaction while dance walking is a point-making endeavor, if you ask me! One woman received my greeting with a huge smile, saying, ‘Someone looks happy!’, and I was.
Folks need to see joy right now and I am happy to be that for my fellows. Points, point, points!
I have been hard at work, printing, and piecing quilt tops made of my hand printed cloth. I have about 12 tops ready for machine quilting. And you know what? I can’t just make quilt tops!! I need to finish things!! And, my handprints deserve to be seen, shown and sold! Its time for me to remedy this bottleneck situation.
I haven’t done much machine quilting geared to more traditional quilting in a long while. In this time, free motion quilting has had a renaissance, it seems. In trying to navigate this new world, I have come across Angela Walters, Quilting is my Therapy and her set of rulers, put out by Creative Grids. Angela Walters has an extensive learning library in support of ruler and free motion machine quilting. I feel honored to be learning from all this free content! I have also joined her Free Motion Challenge Quilt Along group!!
So, I am going to upload my own series of videos to show off my newly acquired skills! Here is my first!
I really couldn’t be happier with this purchase. It took much consideration to purchase this table.
My machine has been a ragtag mess in the last year. My old table was shaking the machine too much! The lightbulb within the machine burned out, I was busy printing fabrics. So when it came time to use the machine, I realized how difficult it is to sew on a table top.
We live in a tiny New York City apartment. In researching sewing machine tables, I have found that most tables are ‘convertible’, so that you can hide the machine from sight. Most are made with pressboard and aren’t all that aesthetically pleasing. Having bought the same table twice over the last 15 years, I didn’t want to purchase another table that would last 5 years. I know that a convertible table isn’t right for me, I want access to my machine all the time, I don’t care who sees it. I wanted to buy the last sewing machine table.
I decided to purchase an Original Sew Perfect Table. This table is, effectively, an industrial sewing machine table, geared toward the domestic sewing machine. Win!!! This is a table made for a power tool, my Bernina 1001!
I made the assumption this table would be made of pressboard, it isn’t! This table was Made in the U.S.A. and is made of laminated wood. It lends a great deal of stability to my 1001, which runs so much quieter now. At 20×48″ this table provides a bit more space than I was used to previously. It was easy to assemble! We mounted a sewing machine light and its up and running!
I also purchased a new insert, which I am really excited about (but have yet not received). And the reason I am excited? The insert is CLEAR, which means I will be able to see my bobbin casing.
I hadn’t named my sewing machine prior to this, but I am not introducing Miss Mae, the power tool of my most creative moments, mounted in a chariot of my dreams.
A pillow was requested by a nice, not naughty, family member.
So, I made a pillow for her (My Mom!). A few years ago, I made a pillow that was so well loved as to have holes and look shabby. Mom NEEDED it.
Peach tried to claim it. Mom got the present and loved it!
Happy Holiday’s all! I hope all your gifts are well received!
I really could not be happier. Last year, I printed gads of cloth. While my new color triangle is not yet complete, I do have Unicorn Feather Prints, Fleur de Lis Prints,Unicorn Prints and more fabrics to be cut and pieced. I love making quilt tops from my handprints.
During holiday break, I cut Fleur de Lis fabrics for a Mini Double Wedding Ring quilt top and a mixture of Feather Prints and Fleur de Lis prints in Drunkards Path. On the horizon, I will be cutting down more Unicorn Prints for a Florrid Bloom quilt top that I have deemed, ‘too small’.
In the meantime, I have found out that Double Wedding Ring blocks take great care and attention, while Drunkards Path blocks are quick, fun and um, addictive. 🙂
I do need to substitute in one semisolid single color print, and one new unrelated print, in order to have a rectangles worth of Drunkards Path blocks.
So, you can see I went for a textured yellow. You will need to wait to see what print I subbed in! Please stay tuned! Also, Happy Holidays! I hope yours were fun, you ate good food, hugged good people and did good things!
I am excited, because I await the shipment of a new sewing machine table! Gratitude!!!
And hey! I discuss these prints in my new offering, Motif Maker’s Zine. Get your copy today!!
Such a beautiful little, she is. I was surprised she had taken my offer of help. Surprised to feel her touch, an intimacy rarely experienced with strangers, on the streets of my good city.
Curiosity spread across me, as she allowed me to carry her items and be a helper. I am a helper, an oddball outcast, an artist. I am wide eyed and wanting, I am a change maker, really. And I do love interacting with random folks, even if the response I usually get is tepid.
I have recently taken a position in an after school program, where my title is, ‘Arts & Crafts Specialist’. I work with eleven to fourteen year olds, making art, painting, weaving, using glue and glitter, in a public junior high school setting, here in NYC.
I had just gotten off work and was walking to the subway. Going home for the day and thinking about this new job.
I have not worked with young people in an ongoing setting before. Older adults, who have taken my workshops, are willingly open to learning! But these kids are growing. They are hormonal. Tired. At an after school program. And they show it. Some are angry and challenge me personally. Some diligently do the thing I ask them to. Cardboard Weaving Looms! Portraits! A Matching Tile game, complete with box!
I received Mrs. Small as confused and defensive. She-an elder, in a dress, nice shoes, a warm coat. But holding just one of the handles of her grocery shopping bag. A soft, long, loaf of white flour bread, drooping precariously within it. A bright bouquet of yellow flowers too. Teenagers goofing off nearby, a parkway to cross.
Without thinking, I asked, “Do you need help?” She acquiesced.
Together, at the light, we crossed four lanes of traffic. Upon getting to the other side, we rearranged her items. Somehow, I had taken her cane in the hustle to make the light. She asked if I had the time to walk her home, I assured her, I was all in.
I learned that Mrs. Small has seven grown children. She’s lived in the neighborhood for forty years and that Mrs. Small had recently had a knee replacement. Her island lilt, crisp and sing song, she prattled as we walked, hand in hand. She needed and wanted the bread. Her daughter would be worried. The doctor said to walk often.
Mrs. Small had sent her children to the school, where I am now an Arts & Crafts Specialist. I do not know how long ago that was, or if her sons and daughters were able to learn about such items as tape, glue, glitter and paint.
As we walked, Mrs Small asked where I lived, if I were American and for every response, replied, “Oh God Bless you.” So many blessings.
I definitely feel greater connection to the neighborhood and to the kids I work with, because of the beautiful Mrs. Small. It is rewarding to be a helper. It’s rewarding to teach the kids, even if it is at times, a challenge. Thank you, Mrs. Small, for helping me see the neighborhood connection to my new job.
Textile design and motif making are my absolute favorite things to do. While my latest book, Playful Fabric Printing, illuminates how to go about printing in full detail and using many differing tools, it’s focus is more about the tools you need to use -to make- a print. This is why I have begun the Motif Maker’s Zine.
Within the pages of the zine, I discuss and unpack how to make your own motifs, how to gather similar ideas together to create a collection of motifs, and also how to use texture and patterning to bring sparkle and depth to your drawn imagery.
Unicorns, it turns out, are ripe and ready for interpretation as a motif. I had little idea how much lore and fantasy surround unicorns. But once I began researching them, I fell in love with them. For instance, why, when entering a forest of known unicorn habitation, must you carry pinking sheers? What do soft serve ice cream or gumball machines have to do with unicorns? hmmm.
The zine format allows me to discuss this extensive research with you! Each zine is 16 pages, is hand drawn and illustrated and each has a beautiful centerfold. This is a creative jumpstart for the home studio and surface design artist!
This deep dive into motif making spurred the creation of hand printed hankies, unicorn T-shirts, prints and more. I am hoping you might gift yourself some Melly made items today! Please check out my Etsy!
I am excited to announce the release of my new publication, the Motif Maker’s Zine. What is a Zine? It is a non commercial offering! It is hand drawn and illustrated, self published and focused on textile design and motif making. Each volume is 16 pages, with a full color cover and centerfold.
The Motif Maker’s Zine has three volumes so far. The first volume showcases how to make a motif, while working in various media and a change of scale. Volume 2 discusses making motifs that interact and play well with one another (unicorns, feathers, pinking sheers-oh my!). Volume 3 discusses how pattern and texture can interact with motif to elevate and enrich your design. Each of the Zines references pages from my book, Playful Fabric Printing, drawing upon and expanding the knowledge found there, while helping you build and use motifs of your own creation.
The creation of my Zine included designing several new prints, where Fleur de Lis, unicorns, feathers, and pinking sheers are featured. I have printed silk hankies using these designs, which can be found in my Etsy shop! Stuff them in your coat pocket- dab an eye when you get cold, tie one onto your purse, use them as pocket squares!
It is my sincere hope that you will join in the fun and become a Motif Maker!
Purchase your copy today!
One can never be prepared to hear the words, ‘You have cancer’, nor understand its impact. With breast cancer, a body altering disease, it is necessary to make decisions about how you want to present your body by way of breast mound reconstruction, flat closure, external prosthesis tucked into a bra, or not. I chose flat and I do not replace my loss by wearing prosthesis.
Until my own diagnosis, I had not specifically met a single breasted or bilaterally flat woman. While I understand that one in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime, by appearances, it seemed all of them either reconstructed their bodies or wore prosthesis. It astounded me to see that the images on informational sites about breast cancer contained no visual reference to single breasted or bilaterally flat women. They allowed no indication of changes to the shape of the woman’s body.
This erasure made me feel as if my choice was rare, odd and abnormal.
I began to question what women might need in order to embrace flat as a beautiful, viable option, after breast cancer diagnosis. My conclusions were and are, we need to be visible to one another, we need role models and we need clothing options that accommodate either the unilateral or bilateral loss of breasts. Fashion is a form of personal expression and contributes to our well being, a lack of clothing options forces us to present as if breasted, substantiating our invisibility.
Once my treatments were complete, I began seeking community in order to resume my life. This is when I learned that some women who chose flat suffer flat denial, either by way to paternalism in the medical community or a lack of surgical skill (Check out Not Putting on a Shirt) . I came to understand that my flat outcome was an ideal that not all women had the comfort of experiencing, when looking in the mirror.
This lit a white, hot, burning fire within me. Women were being denied their choice and autonomy, while fighting for their very lives. I didn’t know the depth of strength or determination that would manifest itself within my being. I would never call it courage, it wasn’t that, it was a spark that could be quenched, in no other way, than to find expression. I -needed- to make the change I wanted to see in the world.
At first, I sought out public figures like Kathy Bates and Tig Notaro, both of whom had been diagnosed and chosen flat closure, by contacting their agents with pleas for help. Unable to make those connections, I stepped in front of the camera, nude from head to toe and used those pictures to make my statement. I became the role model I needed to see.
Since this time, I have come to think of myself as a ‘flat advocate’. I have stepped in front the lens of Charise Isis, Esther Haase, Damon Dahlen, Ryan Pfluger, Miana Jun, CBS Sunday Morning and I have a Great Big Story.
And, well, it turns out, I am not alone in seeking this change. I have met so many beautiful, passionate and good women in the years since my diagnosis, all of whom also seek to populate and expand the ‘flat narrative’.
In joining Flat Closure NOW, I am integrating my advocacy voice, dreams and hopes into a group of passionate individuals who seek societal and medical change. Flat Closure NOW is an advocacy and educational non profit that seeks to empower women and their doctors in the aesthetics of flat closure as a reconstructive choice.
Please meet our board and founding members:
Sondra Price, a founding member of BS Breast Cancer, a supportive and inclusive website in support of all breast cancer survivors and thrivers. Sondra is President of Flat Closure NOW, where her experience in insurance coding will help us affect change to the WHCRA.
Melissa Jansen of I Don’t Need Two. Melissa is a fashionista to the flat unilateral cause. Her photographic skills place her fashion blog in high esteem within the single breasted community. Check out her videos, which arouse laughter to say the least.
Emily Hopper is a young mother and artist who created the Facebook support group, Flatties Unite. She also offers cancer patients fun, sometimes snarky and always empowering casual wear and household items through her store, Empowerhaus. Emily has a knack for cultivating community!
Katie P Fink is an artist, photographer and mother who runs ‘The Flat Advocate’, where she uses humor with audacity and verve to create images that speak to and elevate members of the flat community. Katie pushes boundaries in the most playful of ways.
Shay Sharpe is the powerhouse behind Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes an organization that educates, advocates, mentors, supports, shares resources and grants wishes to children & young women who have been affected by terminal breast cancer.
Kimberly Bowles created Not Putting on a Shirt after personally experiencing flat denial, Kimberly works to protect the interests of patients who choose to go flat after mastectomy. Kimberly made a fantastic contribution to the flat cause by shrining a light on medical malpractice in the breast cancer community to Megyn Kelly of the Today Show.
Catherine Guthrie is a writer and health/science journalist, who authored Flat, Reclaiming My Body After Breast Cancer. Catherine is renowned in the breast cancer community for using her power to give voice to those in need.
And last, but not least, Di Wright, a Canadian activist who seeks to change the narrative to include Flat Closure Reconstruction in events like Breast Reconstruction Awareness (BRA) Day. Di is also founder of Flat in Canada: Support and Advocacy.
And hey, did you know that I am cofounder of My Flat Friends? A support group for all reconstructive types with a focus on Flat Closure, because we ALL have flat friends.
Carving rubber stamps is my favorite printing technique. For years, I used grey rubber, but when Lisa Chin introduced me to Inovart Eco Carve, I changed loyalties. I did so because, Eco Carve is firmer than the grey stuff, though it carves like butter. The firmness allows for finer lines.
Check out this time lapse instagram video of me carving the Bird and Fleur de Lis pattern:
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I continue to swatch and print a new color triangle and am happy to say I am past the half way point. I have 15 colors swatched in gradations of four each. This means I have 13 more colors to go. Woot!
With each color grouping I swatch, I am using a new multicolor print set. When I am finished with this new color triangle, I will have, So. Much. Fabric!! And there is nothing wrong with that.
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So, I took my first outdoor fall off my skates, I fell twice, actually. I did not hurt myself. I was wearing wrist guards, knee pads and my helmet! All geared up. Yeah, it startled me. It hurt momentarily. I do have a bruise, maybe two. In all of the videos I have been watching, they say, ‘If you are going to skate, you are going to fall.’ It really wasn’t all that bad!
I totally feel successful about falling today. 🙂
I am loving learning to roller skate. I just love it. I want to, one day, feel totally comfortable, on wheels, as if they are my feet. I want to dance on my skates. I want to street skate.
Until now, I have been visiting roller skating rinks around the city. The rinks allow me the safety of a flat, smooth surface, leveling out the playing field and allowing for a cleaner, smoother practice. But it is quite unlike street skating.
So, I packed my backpack up, skates, wrist guards, knee guards and helmet and I walked to IKEA, down in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I told myself that I was merely, taking my skates for a walk, in case an area looked good for a trial run.
Now, I have to say, I confront my demons in doing this. It is difficult to feel vulnerable, outside, while moving on wheels, especially as I learn. But I want this. I want to take up space in this way. I want to learn to dance as I skate.
We women are often fed a line that says we should defer, make ourselves smaller, make room for others, not that we need to listen to this societal conditioning, but the messaging is there. Skating feels like the opposite to me. It raises me up by 4-5″, it makes me protect myself with gear. It makes me seek self efficacy and it puts a smile on my face too. I will get better at this. I will feel less vulnerable and more empowered soon.
It is OK to take it slowly and to learn throughly. This space is mine.
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I am committed to skating. The only way to get anywhere, is to practice. So I am practicing. I watch @dirtydeborahharry on YouTube, then I try things out. Dirty Deborah Harry told me (as if I know her!! I don’t. She is a YouTube skate celeb that teaches quite well. She also makes me want to move to California.) to scope out an outdoor spot, check it over for gravel, smoothness and cracks and then to continue to visit and skate the area. So. I have found a quiet spot behind IKEA in Brooklyn. There aren’t too many people who go there and it is fairly flat and crack free. I am getting my time in! # I also did a half hour of yoga and three sets of #sandbagtraining in. I have programmed single leg deadlift into my workout because I think balance lifting will help skating.
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Fitness is my love. It is a benefit from being diagnosed with cancer. It is one thing that I can do to instill a benefit, without popping pills. It is fun. It helps keep my weight at a comfortable place. It helps me feel confident and engaged and it helps me feel and know my body. Little did I know, when I started this journey, what else that would bring.
Two years ago, my Man and I started walking-what for us are, long walks of four + miles per day. We explore Brooklyn, crossing over either the Brooklyn or the Manhattan Bridge, into Manhattan and then meander the streets, filling our eyes and ears with our urban surroundings. We prefer the Manhattan because its got a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge and less people!
I started dance walking, which looks like skipping, lunging, sashaying and prancercise, all rolled into one. This allows me to get ‘extra cardiovascular exercise’ in. It’s a boon too, in that it helps me embrace my authentic self and it anneals me to what people think. I no longer care about looking the fool, I would rather have fun and enjoy myself.
So then, I came upon Gypsetcity (aka Coco) on instagram. Coco uses roller skates to navigate her city, to dance, to enjoy herself. I became smitten. I could imagine myself dance skating the streets of New York City! So for my Birthday, I got a pair of purple Moxi Lolli roller skates and signed myself up for a workshop by Coco!
Now, I begin learning to propel myself forward, to stop, to settle on my feet, as I move through space, on wheels. I am committed to using a local roller skating rink for now. I feel I need the flat, controlled surface-for now. I have a little less than two months to get comfortable with it all before the workshop. And, well, I am doing really well. Today, I loosened up. I was fast. Slow. Nimble. I slowed down and shifted my weight to make swirly lines. I did bubbles.
A little more than a month ago, I had an exercise accident that derailed my blogging efforts! It certainly took me off my feet! I tore my right calf muscle. I couldn’t walk for close to two weeks! It slowed my art making down, it spiraled into taking a break from everything in my life.
But!! It can’t be all bad! My birthday came around (it’s a big one, 5-0), and… I got a pair of Purple Moxi Lolli roller skates! I know! How does one go from leg injury to roller skating? I assure you, it makes sense to me!
I have been printing too! I have 12 of 28 new colors swatched, in all four values, and I am in the midst of printing my newest multicolor print sets. When I am finished swatching the entire color triangle, I am going to have a boat load of new fabrics to begin piecing quilt tops! Please, check out my art insta, to see many recent prints from all of these groupings.
These will be small quilts, as I am printing just 27 fat sixteenths with each grouping of three colors mixed. This isn’t a lot of fabric, each collection will need to be paired with commercial, low volume or single color prints. And, well, that’s exciting!
I will leave you with a photograph of my Man and I, celebrating during my birthday weekend. I am grateful to be me, 50, a goofball artist and fitness enthusiast, who wants to dance roller skate! I am glad you are here and interested in my shenanigans too.
Over and over again!
This week, I continue the journey of swatching a new color triangle, while also printing my most recent textile designs. I have chosen three colors and mixed them in all four gradations. The scissor print you see here is a three color design. The scissor layer was printed using Thermofax screen print, The background and the coloring of the scissors are done by way of fun foam stamps.
As I had mixed three colors, I printed 9 scissor layers in each of the Dark values, so that I can then print 3 Pale backgrounds, 3 Light backgrounds and 3 Medium backgroaunds each, before beginning to print the third and final color. BUT. I forgot to label the ‘Top’ of the Thermofax scissor layer and I ended up flipping the layer over and printing the repeat backward on 6 of the yellow/orange coloration. My fun foam stamps cannot print backward. Ouch.
So, I labeled the Thermofax screen, mixed some additional yellow/orange and I am about to replace the backward prints. Don’t worry, I will be able to use the backward prints! All is not lost, I just can’t color them with the stamps I have created for the purpose.
I am giving Live updates about this project in our FB Community group by the same name, Playful Fabric Printing. Please join us there!
June 20, 21, 22, StencilGirl Products will have a
Melanie Testa stencil SALE!!!
21% OFF Scroll to end of post for the discount code!
If you haven’t already bought every stencil in my line, I wanted to let you know, it’s time to make a purchase or two!!
I am writing the Motif Maker’s Zine -as we speak-. I plan to print the first three within the month. In this offering, I am using my StencilGirl stencils as a jumping off point to discuss repeat design and motif making skills, for the textile/surface design artist. The zine is a visual feast of pattern, motif, texture and prompts to get you printing and creating your very own motifs.
The Zine is written in such a way that it relies on the text of Playful Fabric Printing as a support and learning opportunity. At 15$, this book is a deal. So please! Stock up on my behalf. Every sale is appreciated.
And soon, we will get to learning all about motif making, repeats, single color designs and designing textural elements through, The Motif Maker’s Zine. Please, stay tuned.
This weekend was the world premiere of The Cancer Journals Revisited, a documentary by Lana Lin, shown at BAM (Brooklyn Arts and Music). I participated in this documentary alongside Shay Sharpe, of Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes, Ericka Hart, Barbara Hammer (who has passed away), and more.
Check out the trailer!
The Cancer Journals Revisited centers a discussion of breast cancer around Audre Lorde’s book, The Cancer Journals and the film expands upon the exploration of racism, environmental issues and how women are made to feel their presentation matters more than their health when facing a life changing diagnosis.
Lana did so well in presenting this issue from a predominantly black, brown, and queer perspective. Which is as it should be. Black women and queer folk are diagnosed at much later stages and have less access to quality medical care.
My good man accompanied me to see the documentary as well. When we left the building, he said to me, “You should be proud of participating in that, it was really good. I would like to read the book.” which touched me deeply.
Lana is working on getting this film picked up for distribution.
This Fleur de Lis pattern is a three color print, utilizing a thermofax screen print for the line drawing, and a two part fun foam stamp set, to print the background and the inside of each Fleur de Lis.
I tried to plan out what colors would get printed and where. I tried to adhere to my plan too, but my dyslexia got the better of me. I transposed numbers and generally got happy and forgetful of my intention. I am not worried though. These colors go quite nicely and these are a great set of quite usable fabrics.
(Sorry this photo is not upright, the blogging software is being wonky and I tried to fix it, but no)
I will use the remaining unused dye in single-color, supportive prints. I hope for equal numbers of prints, but we will see what happens. In the meantime, it’s time to steam and wash.
Take note of the color intensity there! It will lessen some with steam and wash! It’s part of the process, and so, it is expected.
I am on a new and different life path, it has been a long time in the coming and is a welcome change. I have decided to become a certified personal trainer and to broaden my employment skillset. I have discovered that I love lifting weights and that I love cardiovascular aerobic exercise! Who knew! My long term goal is to get an additional certification so that I can work with special populations, like cancer patients, queer and transitioning individuals, and those who seek to improve their body image and self love skills through physical exercise.
I have been dance/walking the streets of New York City, listening to songs like Lizzo’s Boys (whom I love for her fantastic sense of self), and enjoying being goofy in public. It is liberating to dance how and where I want. The world is my audience!
I am keeping track of my home workouts via instagram, at Flat_and_Fit. In fact, I have broken my insta accounts into three, Art where you will find my latest makings and Breast Cancer Advocacy too. That way, I can separate my social media personae and you can follow those that interest you.
In the meantime, I have been printing a bunch of Fleur de Lis prints, while also swatching a new color triangle from Playful Fabric Printing.
I am feeling the pull of having access to a new color triangle in a gradation of four values!
Playful Fabric Printing contains a color triangle that Carol Soderlund calls ‘Sunshine’. It’s a great group of colors, and I appreciate being able to draw from all four values of these colors when multicolor printing. But, I would like a new group of colors!
Having taken Carol’s class called ‘Color Mixing for Dyers’, I now want a color triangle in her ‘Juicy’ color way, so I am setting up the necessary items to swatch these new colors using the information presented in our book (page 48, Playful Fabric Printing).
Last summer I printed a new ‘bright’ color way using fuchsia, turquoise and lemon yellow. At that time, I mixed all 28 colors in all four values, all at once. This time, I am going to break it down into two sets of 10 colors and one set of eight, and I am going to try do it in such a way that I can print a new collection of fabrics using the prints I created for the Zine. This is taking some organization and I look forward to being able to complete this project and mount the swatches in my master color book.
Wish me luck!
I have just finished printing four possible covers for The Motif Maker’s Zine volume #2, a zine focused the Unicorn, as motif. In an upcoming post, I will share two quilt tops that feature Unicorn prints derived from the this same collection of prints.
A Zine is a short & sweet version of a magazine. This printed material is often made by individuals, be they artists, activists, enthusiasts, fans or groups. These booklets are traditionally created by way of photocopy machines, an easily accessible and generally inexpensive means of printing.
On March 31 of this year, I went to a Feminist Zine Festival held at Bernard College in NYC. The Zines at this event ranged from 4-12$, more or less. I was so excited about what I might learn and whose Zines I would collect, I arrived early.
I am glad that I did because I was able to nab the brightly colored Zine named ‘Making Your Mark’ at upper right, in the photo above. That Zine is subtitled, ‘Women, Queer & Gender Non-Conforming Tattoo Artists in their Own Words’. It was printed under then Diaspora Savant Press. But I purchased Zines from many interesting people on topics like body positivity, breast cancer, trans poetry, and penpal Zines for incarcerated women and gender non-conforming people.
Then, I got bit by the bug!
Of course my Zine needs to be an artful exploration of motif, textile design and printing. I am drawing and lettering the entire Zine myself and I plan to release three at once, ASAP. I have two Zines complete and have started a third! I find I like communicating by way of drawings and written word. I like the format and I hope you do too.
So, please stay tuned. This will be fun.
Being bold with friends is a delight and a gift.
We walked through Times Square, myself as Genderless Fae, with Rachel as the Wonder Woman she is. We talked with strangers, made conversation happen, had our pictures taken. Some knees were prayed over! Because you never know what may happen at Times Square in NYC.
It’s so much fun to get your freak on and have fun in public. So glad to have awesome pals who are willing to create fun and be outlandish.
I have been skittering down a rabbit hole of exploration into Motif Making. Its been fun. Check out my insta to see a fuller picture of this print and it’s fellas.
I am creating a Zine, an artistic, hand written and printed offering, called the Motif Maker’s Zine. These will be 16 page booklets that speak to how to make and use motif in your printed work.
And, while I do that, I am printing hankies using the motifs discussed in the Zine! I hope to get all of this into my Etsy really soon!
In the meantime, I am updating this website, simplifying it, and learning to maintain it myself. I have been disheartened by social media and look forward to occupying this space again.
My life has been morphing and shifting. I am studying to become a personal trainer! I love working out and I would like to get an additional Special Populations certification, so that I can work with cancer patients who want to engage in fitness.
And hello. It feels good to use this space again.
I am feeling lost artistically. Politics and the state of our nation have me down. And, I now have a part time job which distracts me. My art isn’t keeping me afloat as it has in the past. I keep trying to stir my pot, try new things, stir things up. Mostly, I am telling myself that this shall pass and that an exciting bell will ring soon. My ears are peeled.
In the meantime, I am trying new things. For instance, I am informing myself about Common Tern (I recently got a tattoo of two Common Terns, so I am hot on the topic). So this weekend, I took out my three ring binder of drawings and images and began combining as many as possible into a single image.
This piece combines Common Tern, which uses the east coast of the United States as nesting ground, with drawings of chairs from Upholstery Yardage Sheets. This is a visual pun that describes me, an armchair birder! Then I added a drawing of a New York City skyline and the City Hall Subway station. Living in the city, I sometimes forget that Common Terns are living near and around me, as this is a city surrounded by water, marshes and beaches!
I know art can’t be my end all and be all, its just, sometimes you need to show up and do the work! So here I am, showing up and doing the work! And I have to say, its not all bad!!
Years ago, I began working on a series that I call, The 20. This centers on the Audubon list of Common Birds in Decline. Because I love birds so much, I decided to highlight these common birds and to give them my voice as an artist. Common Terns are coastal birds whose habitat is being lost to humans and climate change. If you live near or visit the coast, please clean and remove any detritus you find! Especially plastic.
Since I first created the ATC in the upper right corner, I have thought of this image as depicting David and I.
My good Man and I have been married for just over 24 years and we’ve decided to get tattoos to celebrate (our appointments are in less than 2 weeks!!). I have chosen the Common Tern image. This image is so loving, shows such connection between the two birds, it communicates the love I seek to honor. David plans to get a portrait of our good feline, Peach.
So all three of us will be present in the honoring of our time together! That’s what I call family.
I have two handprint embroidery kits in my Etsy right now. Consider this to be a mini prototype class, for two, in a private FB group. I hope to make into a full online class, with your help. Are you game?
This online class, held in a closed FB group, will consist of video, photographic and written content, covering: knife edge finish, use of stencils, transfer pen, fill stitch recommendations and more. You will also have access to me in 2-10 minute Live FB Videos, where you are encouraged to ask questions and I will share similar and related work.
Each kit contains a Melly Handprint of a Rose / Love handprint, a hank of handyed embroidery floss in an array of sparkling colors, 2 6 strand DMC floss per color, 18″ long each, scrap handprints in sheers, velvet and more. There are samples of my favorite needles too.
Just to let you know, a friend, A, is getting married soon. David and I both enjoy this person very much. And, I would like to make a gift for him. I am embroidering the third ‘I love embroidery’ kit while creating your video content. It is my goal to make this gifty-embroidered-square ooze with a NYC graffiti like appeal.
This will be a lovely, intimate, learning experience and I hope you might be one of two to purchase these kits! This is a new idea for me, one I hope to make into a full blown online class. If you are interested in eventually taking this class, let me know in the comments and I will start printing more kits!! Heck! I would love to.
Please join me. I assure you, this will be fun!
Embroidery kits! Containing handprints! Threads and more!
Recently, I have been on a quest. I am cultivating enjoyment. I am exploring what makes me happy and I am following those leads. Cancer, as much as it happened 7+ years go has greatly affected me.
The waves of healing, self introspection, the acceptance and embrace of my changed body, while standing present to my husbands needs, its taken a toll. I feel gratitude in that, I am now at a place where I can look out over the landscape of change and feel calm. I am willing and able to sort through the aftermath without tremors of anxiety, worry and fear. Just, open, gentle curiosity.
I am also letting go creatively. I am allowing myself to work in series. I am encouraging myself to mess up and make mistakes. I am trying new things and exploring old methodologies. It feels amazing. Cancer and its aftermath kicked up some pretty deeply ingrained PTSD and I am happy to say it is abating.
Please join me in celebrating this. It feels great to be printing nudes again. It feels great to go on a creative tangent and pile up the work. Let’s be happy together.
(The voice over volume is low, turn the volume up, if you are interested in hearing about the techniques used to print the piece in the video)
I am printing, making, steaming, embroidering. All the things I love best. The weather is changing, it is cooling down. Change is in the air. All is well.
It is coming up on ‘Pinktober’, or ‘breast cancer awareness’ month. I am in strong dislike of the commercialization, sexualization, and pink washing that occurs because this is a disease that (predominantly affects) female breasts, though -men get breast cancer too-!!
Of those diagnosed, one in three will go on to have metastatic disease, the only breast cancer that kills. As we move into the ‘pink month’, remain cognizant -a very small amount of money is given to fund metastatic research. Be judicious, research pink product$, inform yourself. Remember, we are already aware.
I am printing female nudes in groups of eight, with one image from that group appearing with scars. As I begin printing the eighth figure with scars, that ratio feels much too constricting. I am grateful to heal and calm myself in the making, but I am also reminded that way too many people are affected by this awful disease.
Metavivor is a great place to donate $$, if you are inclined.
For a long while, perhaps a year or more, I have been having a hard time artistically. I needed to get a part time job, and I did. Its a good job, I like it. As in most things I do, I jumped fully into the job, started taking more hours, I began volunteering for more work. Until I felt a huge void. I was experiencing a lack of focus on my own art, and it hurt my feelings. I became disconcerted. Grumpy. I made things, but nothing was stirring the well.
So what do you do when making art has become difficult? How do you reconnect with your art and begin engaging with it in a manner that bolsters and supports making? Often, in the past, I have changed media, swapping out dye for watercolor and paper. This time, I have begun cleaning (I am destashing and selling on Etsy, please check it out). Cleaning is magical, it moves energy and makes way for different things to come forward. I love cleaning. Then, a few weeks back, my good man and I went to see the David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night. As we walked through the galleries at the Whitney, I was amazed at what we saw and touched to my very core at the depth and veracity of that mans’ work. I felt the spark of the burning creative fire, that I have been longing for. I could see a pathway to my own creative endeavors forming. I listened.
So, when I got home, I soda soaked cloth. Searched out imagery that I have been wanting to work on. Cut some freezer paper masks. I cleaned, and got ready to let the creativity flow. Geez, it feels good to turn a corner.
Please check out my Etsy! I would like to continue to make space for this change. There are artworks, purses, a bolt of fabric, and other supplies and all are priced to move. Help me make more space for change! Thank you.
This fabulous project taught me lots and lots. There are a few aspects of this project where I will continue to find and apply solutions to perceived problems.
I started by printing a small swatch of cloth, just to see if my color choices were pleasing.
The Unitard is a ‘clothing blank’, made of cotton jersey, procured at Dharma Trading. I love it. The medium size fits my body well, I am 5’2”, weighing roughly 130 pounds. The gathering at center front is pleasing and easily printed over. The plunging back is a fun addition to the design. The legs are about 6” too long, which I think is a great addition to this piece-as yoga clothing goes, allowing you to pull the excess length down over your ankles and heels. My one complaint is that the bodice is slightly long, although this may just mean, I am short 🙂
I decided to Playful Fabric Print the Unitard in an all-over design that contains Roses and Forget Me Nots. The repeat is a six inch square (Page 26, Playful Fabric Printing), the multicolor print set (Page 29) contains a total of 5 possible layers to print. The Rose and Forget Me Nots were carved from Eko Carve, and the additional color separations were printed using plexiglas mounted, sticky back, fun foam stamps (Page 63). This was printed using thickened Procion MX Dyes (I swapped out Turquoise Blue, Fuchsia, and Lemon Yellow dyes when mixing color numbers 2 (an Orange), 15 (Teal) and 22 (Red). I did this because I wanted bright colors (see the value bands on page 57 of Playful Fabric Printing).
My one hesitation in printing this, is the need for an insert or form, as I discussed in this post. I traced the Unitard out onto an opened cardboard box, including an additional 3-4″ to stretch the knit jersey and separate the front from the back.
Recycling a cardboard box meant there were folds in the cardboard. Those folds were nearly impossible to print over. I had to fudge, add thickened dye with a brush and make due on this account. It’s nothing major, the print is pretty forgiving. Also, the Unitard, stretched over a full length form was a bit ungainly to manage on my small print table. But, oh well, it was necessary.
And, I have two more Unitards to print!
Next time, I am going to try printing with Thermofax, as I think the color saturation with be super pleasing. Overall, I think printing on clothing blanks is something I am going to thoroughly explore! When I bought these babies, I also bought a skirt, a camisole and I recently dug out a tunic and a kimono (similar to this one) from my stash.
Stay tuned to more printing on clothing blanks!
I have been wanting to print clothing blanks for a while. Luckily, Dharma Trading carries many styles and options and they have all the kinks ironed out. Their blanks have been tested for acceptance of dye, even the threads used to sew the garments have been considered and addressed. That’s where I found this Cotton/Spandex Unitard. If you head over there, check out the tie dyed, unitard wearing yogi in the images.
I won’t be tie-dyeing this though. In printing this, I assume I will come across some challenges. Submerging cloth in dye is much different than applying thickened dye to cloth. Much of my experience in printing is based on printing cotton broadcloth, which is woven and smooth. Knit jersey is also smooth, but the cloth is thicker and stretchy.
Luckily, I bought three unitards, so I have some wiggle room to mess up and try again.
My first step was to cut a form out of cardboard. I made this slightly larger than the unitard, so that I could stretch the cloth some. I imagine this may help the printing to appear darker, as the cloth will be spread out in order to print it, then will retract when taken off the form. My hope is that I am not stretching the cloth too much.
I imagine the shirring and binding on the bodice will be hard to print well and I accept ahead of time, that this may be wonky. We will soon see. Wish me luck.
This has been an interesting repeat to carve. I love floral motifs and roses printed on cloth. Carving a rose by hand is a great challenge.
Drawing and depicting roses is not easy, there are so many curved petals! Then, you need to figure out how to carve it in an elegant hand. I like to carve in stages, printing a copy at each major stopping point. In this case, I printed on both copy paper and cloth, so that I could evaluate the printed artifacts. It turns out, I want to see some shaded areas on the dark half of each rose.
Now, I prepare to remove the last bit of shading in the rose. I am plotting my course and thinking through how to go about it. I really like this carving and I do not want to mess up!
Wish me luck.
I love carving rubber. My mind and body reduce to nothingness as I watch the blade slip beneath the surface of the rubber, butt up against the pencil mark and lift the rubber away. I become calm and centered, my mind lets go, and I am free. It is bliss.
I begin by carving away the ‘bright’ half of each rose. I have not resolved how I would like the ‘dark’ half of the flower to be carved. I will leave that alone until I have a vision. So, there is tension and hope for a great outcome.
Life is good. How about you? Tell me about you.
This is one of those days that I have so much excitement, my blog post goes in two directions.
First, I participated in a video shoot with Amanda Palmer and Jasmine Power for a song called, Mr Weinstein Will See You Now. The subject matter of which, is deep, poignant, and timely with a transformative power.
I am a member of the ‘Weinstein Chorus’, one of 50 women, dressed in white shirts, who sing and run in different scenes. Lyndsay Katt plays a part too (remember my Genderless Fae debut? Lindsay pointed me in the direction of this amazing opportunity while participating too). Amanda and Jasmine’s song has been released, you can get a copy of it off Amanda‘s website. Soon, the video will come out too.
To participate in this video was to heal my person. I have been crying tears and processing what my participation has stirred within me, which is tiring, if good work. I pray the sheer magical and poetic beauty in this video, will fling itself out into the world and help heal the wounds we women carry. I feel so grateful to play a small part. Amanda Palmer and Jasmine Power are fierce females with a huge vision.
I have returned home to work with a 6″ repeat utilizing the Rose and Forget Me Not motifs. In exploring how to carve these flowers, I carved a single motif, upper left. These exploratory findings are rich for playing around with how to color the design. While playing around with this, I printed several postcards, which you can see at lower right.
Because I love mail art, I placed these postcards in my Etsy. If you purchase a 5$ handprinted postcard, I will address it to you (or yours), place a Priority Mail stamp on the card and write a message to you, prior to placing the postcard in the mail. I hope you want a postcard! I would love to write to you.
I printed a postcard for Amanda, provided a stamp and pen, while suggesting she write to herself-I felt too shy to ask her to do it right then and there. I hope she does, though. It will feel complete to me, when that happens.
As I am feeling life deeply and well, I will retreat for a while and delve into carving my next repeat. I look forward to be able to print this!
I am fairly sure, I will stick with the above layout.
But, I think it needs a border. I envision that each corner needs to be a complete circle and that some darker value Single Color All Over Prints are necessary to create contrast.
So, I set to work printing more cloth, to help get the job done.
My PJ bottoms kinda go nicely with the prints, yes? 🤪
I printed 20 Single Color All Over Prints and 4 additional Bird Buta Prints. I will steam and boil them this coming Thursday, just in time for Quilt Lab.
This has been a fun endeavor.
It is such fun to come to the making of the thing! You may remember when I was carving the Bird Buta motif or the printing of the Bird Buta. If you don’t, head over there and check it out. There is a great video in the first of the two links in this paragraph.
Just this week I steamed and washed a batch of the Bird Buta handprints. Then, I cut and pieced them. Now, I play around with design and placement of blocks.
—->The sneaky thing is, I just joined Gotham Quilts, Quilt Lab-which I love! Each month we explore a topic, go home, make something related to the topic and return to share it with the group. This month’s topic is value. (Technically they asked for polychromatic value exploration. But the polychromatic part dropped out of my mind before I started printing.) So, I have explored value in textile printing and quilt making. <—-
When I print cloth for a quilt, I like to work with value gradation, while also maintaining a modest palette of colors. In the case of these fabrics, I chose three colors-25 (Purple), 15 (Teal) and 3 (Lime) (Playful Fabric Printing page 57).
The line drawing of the bird is printed in 25D, while the bird bodies are overprinted using differing values of colors 3 and 15 in either Pale, Light and Medium. For a total of 20 Bird Buta prints and 20 single color all over prints.
The single color all over prints used up all values mixed in colors 3 and 15 after printing the Bird Buta. In choosing these colors, I hoped for a soft, playful and approachable palette that could also be gender neutral.
I left the background of the Bird Buta print white, in the hope of creating a contrast between the focal print and the single color all over design. I am happy with how this aspect came out.
I think the single color all over prints give the quilt top a patchwork like effect, while maintaining a meaningful color relationship between the blocks. I also think the variation in value and hue is pleasing while lending contrast depth and pop to each of these layouts.
This last photograph seems to be my preferred layout thus far. But, I envision a border… that needs -some- darker value all over single color prints. In 3 and 15 and maybe some beautiful blue? We will see.
In the meantime, I will bring what I have to —->Quilt Lab<—- and see what my gal pals have to say.
Last night my Good Man and I met up with a friend, ate a delicious meal together, then headed to Joe’s Pub, for the NYC premiere of The Avant Gardener by Lindsay Katt, watch the trailer, here (I made it into the trailer!). WOOT! Check out Lindsay’s Music page on FB too.
I remain consistently amazed that I placed myself as a Genderless Fairy, in a MOVIE. As in, I have a mention in the INTERNET Movie Database.
See the glittery awe? That misty dew of OMG, Yes? I got to play the part of The Genderless Fae, again. In person. I got to watch Lindsay’s movie and listen to Lindsay sing.
I got to walk the streets of New York City, as The Genderless Fae.
I hold every instance of artful engagement -like this- in very high regard. Our fellow humans need to -see- the touch of the freak. We need to see the embodiment of showing up and having fun with it. We need to see people doing ‘the thing’ that makes their heart sing. Conformity is encouraged at every turn. It is hard to remain independent.
But, it is great. And fun. And worth it.
I am listed as, ‘Melanie Testa as The Genderless Fairy’.
In. a. Movie.
And the thing is, the motto of the movie, the underlying message of The Avant Gardener is, ‘You can tip-toe through life and get safely to death, or you can really live.’
I mean, I said YES, to this part, during a year where I committed to saying, Yes! ‘Yes, I want to paint my body gold and flit on camera!’ Yes, I will pose in magazine articles and participate in video content online, go to Berlin. Yes, I want new people and different things in my life.
It was one Heck! of a year.
To see myself in this project. To allow myself to feel Lindsay sing on a beautiful night, in the summer, with my Man and friends?
It was magic.
As you know, I have been piecing, quilting and sewing up a storm. So this weekend, I took out my dyes, mixed a few colors and picked up the Bird Buta multicolor set I had been working on just prior to my sewing jag. I found all of the previously printed pieces, backtracked through my notes and found a pathway to overprinting and coloring the birds.
In this one, you can see the wings were printed using a teal green and the entire bird was overprinted in a yellow green. I played with value by making sure to pair Light with Medium value in those two layers of the multicolor set.
It is my hope that the resulting wing color would create drama and depth within the motif itself.
And, I don’t often do this, but. I am going to leave the background of the Bird Buta white. Quilters seem to favor white. I don’t usually work with it. I like color. I like pattern. But I am going to be restrained and explore this idea.
I went ahead and printed a gradation of the greens used in the Bird Buta print. Single color all over designs like this are really helpful in quilt making. At the moment, I envision a zig zag quilt that shows off the gradation nicely…
But first, I will steam and boil these.
Wow. The Florabunda! Blog Hop Celebration was a great success. My fellow artists and Hoppers created a wide array of styles, using the format of wall art, bed and baby quilts and usable items like a shopping tote, and a stylish purse and wristlet combo.
I have compiled a Florabunda! by RJR Fabrics Pinterest board containing every post on the hop as well as pins that will alert you to where you can find Florabunda! for purchase through the web (These pins are labeled, STOCKIST Alert!).
If you have made something with Florabunda! I would like to pin it to this board! Let me know! These posts are labeled, Blog: on the Florabunda! Pinterest board. This board is quickly growing. Happy Dance.
The Fabric GIVEAWAY on Insta was a great success. Thank you for helping us spread the word about Florabunda! to your friends and fellow quilt enthusiasts. Thanks too, for your enthusiasm and for following the Hop!
Our Insta winners are:
Please comment here or PM me through Insta, to claim your prize.
The Blue without You pattern GIVEAWAY from this post remains open until July 1, go comment.
The Quilty Box GIVEAWAY from this post remains open until July 1, go comment there too.
I am calling this quilt, ‘Connect the Dots!’, because it does just that!
I made this quilt with several intentions in mind. First, I wanted to demonstrate how Florabunda! can be used. Then, I wanted to make connections with the offerings of my good friends.
This quilt pairs Florabunda! with Jamie Fingal’s Hopscotch. Hopscotch is a huge line of low volume prints in a plethora of colors and values. It was easy to choose fabrics from this line. Jamie’s prints help elevate the visual impact of Florabunda!
I couldn’t be happier to say, Jamie is a good friend of mine. Using her fabrics alongside mine is meaningful to me in so many ways.
Jamie and I often meet up and share a meal with friends at Quilt Festival, retreats, and venues we might teach at together. I cherish the friendships and female connection these dinners cultivate. We all meet up, as friends and fellow artists, to laugh and toast. We celebrate milestones together. We are good friends. Jamie curates a show called Dinner at Eight along with Leslie Tucker Jenison (also on this Hop and an RJR Designer). Jamie shows up and makes good things happen.
Then, I have been improving my more traditional quilting skills by exploring Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s books, taking her classes and using her templates. I used Victoria’s Bow Tie template to make ‘Connect the Dots’.
In making this quilt, I learned about and fell in love with sewing curves. I thank Victoria’s teach style and skill for this.
If ever, you have told yourself that, ‘curves are too difficult’ for you? Buy the Bow Tie template along with the Mirror Ball Pattern, read the pattern from start to finish, twice. Cut one block, sew one block. That’s it. That’s what I did. It’s so easy. I am disappointed I ever told myself curves were difficult. I could have been making dotty quilts a long time ago!
All of which is to say, I see love, and female friendship, and a shared love of quilting, when I see these fabrics and templates used together.
This truly is a #quiltwithlove connection.
The other things I learned in the making of this quilt?
Don’t forget to check out my post about my June 2018 Quilty Box! I am hosting a Quilty Box GIVEAWAY and think you should win it! The Blue without You GIVEAWAY is still open too. Please leave comments on both posts.
Check out the New Florabunda! Pinterest Board! So many pretty projects there!
Debby Brown is giving an A La Mode Cutie pattern away too!
I feel honored to be asked to curate the June 2018 Quilty Box. Quilty Box is a subscription service geared toward introducing quilters to new fabrics, tools, creative ideas and products. My Quilty Box will introduce you to the fabrics in Florabunda!, Mistyfuse, the Goddess Sheet and Aurifil Mako’ ne 12 weight cotton thread. ‘The above quilt which I call, ‘Be Mine’, has been made into a pattern for my Quilty Box. In addition, ‘On Point’, a pattern created specifically for Florabunda! is included (so you will get TWO patterns in my Quilty Box, a wall art pattern with everything needed to make it, and a bed quilt pattern).
In creating this project and pattern, it was my hope to create a wall art piece that played up the central floral motif in Florabunda!, the Blowsy Rose. I wanted the piece to be playful, bold and graphic. I hoped it would have a graffiti like appeal. And honestly, I hope young folk might be attracted to making this as a gateway into the passion of sewing and quilting. If you know of a young person who might Love this Quilty Box, please order one today!
Why did I place these items in my Quilty Box?
Misty fuse is an extremely lightweight fusible or glue that allows you to bond fabrics together by way of ironing. Mistyfuse paves the way for raw edge appliqué. This is a technique every quilter should have at the ready. (Jamie Fingal used raw edge appliqué in Hexi Spring, her Florabunda! Blog Hop contribution.)
The Goddess Sheet is a silicone ironing cloth that assists quite well in the use of Mistyfuse. They sell these sheets in many sizes, one big enough to cover an ironing board! (I don’t yet own the largest one, but I want to!) The silicone sheet will protect your iron from the fusible. My preferred size is the 21×27″ Fat Goddess size, though I own the Goddess Sheet, Big Goddess Sheet too. 🙂
Aurifil Mako’ne 12 weight cotton is a gorgeous, heavy weight thread with great sheen. It sews wonderfully both by hand and machine. Most of my hand printed quilts are machine quilted using this thread. I love it.
This is ‘On Point’, a pattern that utilizes Florabunda! so nicely and is included as a pattern in the June 2018 Quilty Box.
Today I would like to GIVEAWAY a June 2018, Melly curated, Quilty Box as part of the Florabunda! Blog Hop Celebration. Please comment on this post, which I will leave open until July 1. And, while you are at it, check out these fabulous artists and their contributions the Blog Hop.