I'm spectacularly happy that #PrintInktober is over. It was a tough slog this year. Some projects are like that. And that's okay. But before I get into lessons learned and things I'm thinking about, let's take a look at the last three days of prints. Below, I'm posting the process video, embedded from instagram (if you get this blog via e-mail you may need to click on the title of the post to view the videos online) and a photo of the finished fabric:
When you look at them all mushed together like this, I think you can see how one day's experience often influences the next day's fabric. One of the many benefits of doing a daily project is that your creativity snowballs -- because it has to. Each day necessarily builds on the last and you have the opportunity revisit a decision you made yesterday and turn it the other way. Too messy? Let's go neater. Too controlled? Let's push it the other way. Wrong colors? Let's try again. This is the reason I keep coming back to daily project. Though, I will say, you can often get some of the same benefits from working in a series and/or on multiple pieces at the same time.
As with any project, I think the most important thing is to sit back and think about what you can take away from the experience. Here's a quick breakdown of what I've learned this month:
- Showing up matters. I know this. But I have to constantly relearn and reinforce it. There were so many -- SO MANY -- days that I did not feel like continuing on with this project. I was tired. I was cranky. My body hurt. It was late. I couldn't find my supplies. The excuses go on and on and on. But to force myself to do it, I followed one simple rule: Go into the studio and pull out the fabric. If you don't feel like doing it once the fabric is in front of you, fine. Walk away. And you know what? Every time I actually had the fabric in front of me, I managed to do something with it. The hardest part is walking into the studio and getting that fabric out. Once that hurdle has been passed, the rest is easy.
- Ink vs. Paint. For every single fat quarter I used fabric paint or ink. I discovered that in general, I much prefer stamping with fabric block printing ink (as opposed to fabric paint). The prints are cleaner, more colorful, and there is a long open time. The negative of the block printing ink is that it takes about 48-72 hours for the fabric to dry completely. Fabric paint is dry in less than 30 minutes. This influences your ability to layer. It's a small hurdle, but it can mean slowing down the process or accepting that it may take several days to achieve the look you're going for.
- Scale of Prints. I know that I've mentioned this before, but scale matters. Most of the stamps and tools I use tend to be small because I tend to work on smaller project. A fat quarter is quite a bit of space. While some of the fat quarters look great in the detail shots, many of them just look bland or forgettable in the further away shots because of the scale of the images. If I want to do more fabric surface design, I need to work on creating larger stamps and other tools.
- Hand Printing Fabric can be Tedious. Not a charming thing to say, but it's true. It takes a lot of prints, a lot of table space, a lot of physical energy (pressing down), and a lot of time to print "just" a fat quarter. I 100% understand why people sell handprinted fabric for so much money. It is work.
- Random patterning vs. purposeful. I feel like I learned a lot about the difference between "random" placement of images vs. registered placement. Generally speaking, my eye prefers the neatly patterned fat quarters. As art, they're less interesting. As an art tool (i.e. something that will be made into an art object), they're more appealing to me.
I still don't have any definite plans for any of these fat quarters, but I'm looking forward to grabbing them from my stash when the muse strikes!
Thanks for stopping by!