Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Projects planned for cyanotype class

     I have been asked to teach a class on Cyanotype printing, and have tried to decide what to do! Did they just want to learn the process, or do they want a finished project? We are still planning, but I thought I would record my ideas.

     If we just learn the process, the class members can send me photos ahead of time, and I can make the films. We could then expose some fabrics and learn the Sepia Tones process. They could then use these fabric squares in any project they chose to do on their own after class.

     However, if they want a finished project – I need to come up with something. I had 2 ideas.

     First, we could print a design that would be a finished panel, that could then be cut out and completed after class.
     Thinking along the lines of the Butterfly Prayers (did you read the story about why I made the quilt?), I thought of a new item that could be used in class. What brings comfort to people who are hurting, physically or emotionally? A hug, a teddy bear, a note from a friend. Well, combine all that and you have a beautiful teddy bear, with hand written notes from friends, that they can hug when they hurt, whether they are alone or among a crowd of well wishers. Something they can cry into to, or fall asleep with. Something they can leave close at hand, for whenever they need a little comfort.
     If we just printed a teddy bear shape, that would be pretty boring. And if we had hand written prayers made into film, that would be pretty time consuming and costly, and limiting to the one bear. What we needed was something that could be used over and over again.
     So, I designed a teddy bear, that is pretty even without hand written prayers, but can be personalized easily, quickly and inexpensively as the occasion arises. The panel is designed so that it may be embellished and personalized.

     Second, since my quilt, Decade of Love, was the cause for asking me to teach the class, maybe I should design a quilt using the cyanotype process.
     Wanting to keep the costs low for the class, that would mean not buying a lot of the cyanotype fabric. But, how can you make a quilt, without a lot of fabric?
     Well, you could do as I did on the Decade of Love, use the cyanotype as only a portion of the total fabric. That would limit the cost but allow the cyanotype prints to shine in the pattern, as well as teach the process.
    I had a project bubbling in the back of my mind, for my nephew who will be leaving for Bible College this fall. I wanted to make him a quilt to let him know I am praying for him, with the same “feel” as Butterfly Prayers, but of course, I cannot give him butterflies! He is a guy! And the films for the Butterfly Prayers quilt are specific to the person it was made for, and I would have to get everyone in church to sign again (it took me about 2 months before, everyone wanted to think about what they wrote, because the lady is so precious to us all). That would not work! Besides, what if I want to do another quilt? My second nephew will go to Bible College next year. I needed something that was more generic, but with the same love and attention of Butterfly Prayers.
     So, I decided to design a quilt pattern with Cyanotype printing and use precut fabrics to add simplicity in assemblage and give it a scrappy look! Cool!
     The cyanotype fabrics would be only a small portion of the total fabric, so the cost is again limited.
     Instead of specific hand written prayers, this time I would use sketches to show we are praying for him. That way it would not be too “girly” and would be a generic that could be used for others as well.
     The company that I buy my fabric from has come out with colors (when I began doing cyanotype, the only option was white fabric that was chemically treated for the exposure). For my nephew I wanted the original blue (his favorite color) but the class may want to make a quilt for a girl – maybe the pink or orange would be nice!
     So, the quilt pattern was adapted to be for either gender, and could be made in a couple different sizes (my nephew is tall, and would need a few extra inches to cover him, more than the girls at church who are headed off to Bible College, they are really petite).
     I will be in the process of sewing one up soon, I am awaiting the cyanotype fabrics, and need to finish working on the sketches to be printed.

     Now, I was ready! I had two projects to offer the class! And the fact that I managed to get a personal project designed at the same time was truly a blessing from the Lord!