Thursday, December 08, 2005

Failure humbles; Success buoys

Yesterday went so much better than Tuesday. And the lists seem to be working for both the everyday tasks and the creative ones.

Knowing I had two things I wanted to complete this week kept me from fussing with that purse. Time to start on goal two, but when I went into the studio, I could feel myself wanting to get out of working on it. Without it on my list, I probably would have chosen to put it off like I've been doing for the last couple of months.

"It" is something I'd printed onto fabric, something I'd put together from a vacation photo and some GIF's with the help of a software program. "It" looked great on the screen but didn't print vividly on the pretreated fabric sheet I was trying for the first time. My frugality kept me from experimenting more at the time to see if the problem was with my new printer or the new fabric. I'll just make do, I convinced myself, thinking it would be made into a gift for a friend. She'll never know what the original looked like. Bad reasoning there.

So here I have this 8-1/2 x 11 inch piece that just as well could have been printed on photo paper and framed. This is the on-going problem I'm having with photo printing on fabric. My brain hasn't moved beyond the photo part to figure out something unique to make it worthy of conversion to fabric. I've looked at what other artists have done and see the possibilities, but when I try, I just go back to the same old rut. But I'm tired of looking at this fabric and either need to make it into something for my friend, or turn it into a journal quilt.

The journal quilt idea was gaining favor, but after auditioning a number of batiks for a frame, I warmed to the idea of adding multiple borders and turning this into a tote bag or pillow top. One part of me said, quit dragging your feet and just put this together some way so you meet your goal. Another part of me said, since how you will finish this is partly dependent on whether or not you could get a better print on fabric, maybe you should experiment with your printer first.

It's good to have a plan and to stick with it - not let yourself be sidetracked, but then again, it's good not to be so rigid that you miss opportunities that might actually improve your work. I decided this was one of those times. I had some fabric treated with bubble jet set already, so I decided to go for it. I had to figure out the best settings to use with this new printer as well as how to stabilize the fabric to feed through it. It is very sensitive to the least bit of curling of whatever you are running through it and so far my usual method of ironing to freezer paper hadn't worked. I'd read somewhere about using spray baste to affix fabric to cardstock so I gave that a try. Success! The fabric not only fed through perfectly, the resulting print was much sharper, darker and truer in color. That freed me up to finish out the first piece as a journal quilt.

Can you believe, I was still dragging my feet about finishing this up today? Got sidetracked sorting through some beads before I realized I was in avoidance mode. Got back on track, added the bits on the sides to frame it, layered it and quilted it. Good practice for the piece for my friend. My other problem with photos on fabric is how to quilt them, especially if they are of people. I was pleased with how that part went, less pleased with my background choice. Relieved that I'd stuck to my goals and let them take me a little farther than I'd anticipated.

Tomorrow we play...

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