Rainbow Accordion Book Artist Trading Card : RED

The image on the left is the trading card  I made for the MMATC (Mixed Media Artist Trading Card) Yahoo! Group project:  Rainbow Accordion Book. (In my last blog I posted the card I’d received in this card swap from artist Beth Power ). This work marks my debut into the group.

Also in my last blog I outlined the concept behind the 7-month project. There are few constraints: the design is to be non-representational/abstract; the focus of each card is one colour of the rainbow;  and they are to be made using fabric paper.

I tweaked the recipe for the fabric paper (I can never follow a recipe without tweaking it).  Instead of fusing one layer of my acid-free tissue paper to the fabric, I fused three. I swear this was not just because the cat damaged the first sheet by jumping onto it, then wading across it when wet!

Between the first and second/third layers, I added sprinklings of – no, not sugar – white quartzgrains,  size no. 5, in fact from a bag I bought for another project while still living in France. The quartz grains would normally go into an aquarium. They are a better alternative, for adding texture, than sand, as they don’t crumble.

Fabric Paper, embedded with white quartz

Because I’d painted the fabric red before adding the tissue paper, then painted that red too, the quartz absorbed the colour. When dry, I lightly sanded the surface to encourage some of the now reddish quartz grains through the surface of the paper.

I decided to stick with the rainbow concept for my design. Brainstorming the word rainbow I came up with with words such as transparency, ray, weather, rain, bow, weather, map, meteorology, raindrops, sunshine.

The strips of  red acetate I added are a nod in direction of transparency. There are also strips of coloured hessian string which I knotted at intervals before fastening them to the surface of the card with glue and the odd stitch – again in hessian. I used near- and complementary greens and blues for the stitching, to vivify the red where the colours collided.

The knots are to do with the symbols of dots and flags that you find on weather maps. I printed off some maps, dampened and crumpled them, ironed them dry, then tore them into strips. This accounts for the spattering of other colours in the work.

The card was to be 6 x 6 inches. I cut a window of that size from printer paper. When I was satisfied with an arrangement of all the elements on my fabric paper, within my 6 x 6 window, I took photos, manipulated these on the computer with Photoshop, then printed them off and re-did the arranging process until I was completely satisfied, glued it all down onto my fabric paper, added the string, acetate and stitching.

I fused the front of the card to a back sheet made from the muslin used to make the paper. I painted this red with acrylic paints, which rendered the sheet stiff when it dried. I stiffened the card by fusing a layer of medium white iron-on Vilene Interfacing to the back of the front of the card (this is the stuff used to stiffen collars in shirts and blouses).  I bonded the back of the card to the front using  Heat’n’Seal’ (Ultra) (a double-sided fusing fabric) manufactured by Hemline Groves. And of course, I turned hems in all round to make the card look neat. To finish off the back of the card, I glued a narrow strip of transparent (organza-type) red ribbon along the edges of all four sides.

If you think I sound like I knew what I was doing, it was all completely experimental and new to me! I’d never heard of Vilene Interfacing or Heat’n’Seal Ultra before this project and the fact that everything worked first time was fluke and luck!

I am fortunate however, to live in close proximity to a craft/art emporium, staffed with experienced artists/crafters.  All I had to do was to go in and ask, “have you got anything to stiffen fabric?”

So I’ve learned, in making this card:

– how to make fabric paper
– about iron-on interfacing and fusing and how to use it
– improved my brainstorming skills
– that I should keep the cat out of my working environment

Related articles

How to make Fabric Paper:


Give me a treat and I'll move away from in front of the tellie!

About AnnIsikArts

Artist/Writer/Chess Enthusiast/Musician (Singer)/Gardener
This entry was posted in Art, Mail Art, Painting and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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