Fabric printing–a first attempt

If you’ve read this blog for very long you’ll know I love to make bags of all kinds, and though I sometimes go for plain linings, I’ve decided that the inside of a bag is a great place to use a quiet little bit of special fabric. I’ve been playing a little bit with stamping fabric with stamps I’ve carved myself (all bow three times now in the direction of wherever it is they make Mastercarve).

This fish-stamped fabric and the two below are actually all of a piece; I had a long piece of osnaburg that I washed and ironed, and tried out different stamps up and down the length of it (you can see, in the picture above, the fish beginning to give way to a pattern of clusters of dots).

And here, a flutter of sakura, cherry blossoms. I can see the same blossoms outside my office window right now, too, on one of our three two remaining cherry trees (the third, alas, was claimed by black knot fungus). And again, a scattering of dots.

I’ve loved working with osnaburg ever since a friend of my mother’s took pity on me and taught me to sew when I was 12 years old. Mom has many talents, but sewing is not among them.  My dad used to sew on his own missing shirt buttons, which he learned to do in the army. It was the 1970s, and I must have made half a dozen osnaburg hippie smocks to wear with jeans, each decorated with a suitably 70s applique–a turtle, a peace sign, a frog . . .

Osnaburg is typically used for things like utility bags or the linings of pockets, but there’s something about this humble (and cheap) fabric that appeals to me.  It’s plain, resonably sturdy, and makes a blank enough canvas that it inspires me to use it in all kinds of ways.  I made the primitive Christmas tree angel that you saw back in December (along with several others I gave away) out of osnaburg.

This time, though, my favorite fabric became the lining of a bag that holds my camera and my drivers’ license when I go out to do some photography.  Another art close to my . . . um . . . heart.


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