Tag Archives: Spoonflower

Creativity: Custom Art Fabric

I’ve been creating pillows and dolls with my own custom fabric for a couple of months now. I promised to make these fabrics available for sale at some point, and that day has arrived! You can now purchase three of my fabric designs directly from the manufacturer! I get a commission on all sales and the satisfaction of knowing my designs have been well received. I currently have 3 designs available, but there will be more coming in the future. If you have a specific image in mind, from my art portfolio, please let me know and I will be happy to design a custom art fabric and make it available just for YOU!

Spoonflower is the website where my fabrics are available and I must highly recommend them! They have several different fabric choices available, plus they also print wall paper and wrapping paper. At this time, my designs are only available on fabric.

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Friday Funday: Artist Date!

 

Friday is Funday in my art studio. I like to put aside all the “business” stuff and have a day to play and enjoy being an artist. Julia Cameron, who wrote the book, “The Artist’s Way”, which I read for the first time almost 20 years ago, recommends taking yourself on an “Artist date”. This is something you do to feed your inner artist. Whether it be going to an art supply store and browsing supplies, or going to an art gallery or museum and looking at art for inspiration. You can do what I do and play in your studio or wherever you make your art.

I forget about this a lot of the time but it’s a great idea! Not just for artists either! EVERYONE should have self dates to feed their creativity or their spirit. You can go it alone or with a friend. Museums and galleries always fuel my inspiration. There is nothing quite like seeing what other artists are doing to light a fire deep inside me to create something new. I recently made a visit to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe with some out of town visitors. Georgia’s work has always had a way of making me want to go out into the desert and paint a landscape. Even though it’s been YEARS since I painted a landscape!

This week, I decided to stay in the studio and paint. This would seem like a normal day in the studio for me but for Friday Funday it’s all about being free and not trying to control what I’m painting. No judgements, no mistakes, just FUN!

8 x 10" oil painting on canvas is a work in progress, "Abstract flower".

Playing with paint today this 8 x 10″ oil painting on canvas is a work in progress, “Abstract flower”.

Today, as everyday, I started with a 20 minute meditation. I had another painting show itself to me today (see above). Before this week, it had been about a year since I had taken out the paints and brushes. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was looking for something new to do. My thinking was I needed to make art that was functional. Something that would be used and not just hung on a wall or stuck in a closet.

It started last summer with creating an adult coloring book. Interactive art! I hand drew 20 mandalas and published my own book. Now available in printed and pdf format in my Etsy shop.

After the coloring book I was reminded of how much I enjoy sewing and pulled my dusty old sewing machine out of the closet, and had it cleaned up and serviced so it would work again! I found Spoonflower.com and designed my own custom fabric using my art. I started making dolls and art pillows using my custom art fabric.

Now that I’ve totally taken a tangent from my original topic, I will come back around to say it’s all related! Art and creativity is all about play! It’s about going with the flow and creating whatever comes to mind. Why be pigeonholed by painting? Painters can create in other mediums too. The coloring book project forced me to pull out pencils and markers to make line drawings. The sewing project took me completely out of my normal creation zone and back to being a kid who made dolls for the State Fair. Not to mention creating custom fabric bringing out the graphic designer in me to create designs in photoshop.

What I’ve learned from the whole process is sometimes it’s important to do things differently. When we feel like we are in a rut, shake things up! Get out of your comfort zone. Instead of painting, try your hand at ceramics or sewing! I still have an urge to make pottery, but haven’t gotten that far just yet. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

My Grammy’s Sewing Machine

Several months ago I eluded to changes coming soon to Paula Manning-Lewis’ studio. You’ve seen the “fab bags” I started making a couple months ago. Today, I will show you what brought about this change.

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My grammy’s sewing machine!

I inherited this sewing machine from my grandmother many years ago. Honestly, I cannot remember how long I’ve had it. For many years, it sat, collecting dust. When I finally pulled it out to start using it, it wasn’t working properly. I did what anyone in my position might do. I took the sewing machine to my mom to see if she could figure out what was wrong. At the time, several years ago, I didn’t really have any pressing use for the machine. Besides, I was always welcome in my mom’s sewing room and she has better machines, plus she has every possible tool I might need!

photo of my first jeans patch

The first patch I made, using fabric and notions I had on hand.

I recently decided that I wanted to get back to making things with fabric, basically as soon as I found Spoonflower! Once I knew I could custom design fabric with my art on it, the creative juices started to flow and I started to think of all the things I could make!

photo of my peace patch in pattern form

The beginning of the Peace patch. I drew the peace sign pattern.

I made my first “fab bags” in my mom’s sewing room, but it quickly became clear that this was something that wasn’t just a passing phase for me. I talked with my mom about what she thought might be wrong with my sewing machine and she said she would take it into the repair shop and let me know once she found out how much it would cost to fix. I told her to go ahead and have it fixed, because I wanted to use it and would pay whatever it cost. Sure, I could have bought a new machine, but I had an attachment to THIS machine.

photo of my peace sign patch in progress

Peace sign, cut out and ready to attach to the backing material.

A couple weeks later my machine was done, it just needed a simple part. My mom ended up paying for the repairs and said it was “for your birthday”. Needless to say, I was excited about finally having my “own” sewing machine again!

Peace sign in progress

Peace sign patch, work in progress. The peace sign was sewn on by machine, the flowers are hand stitched.

All the ideas in my head were now possible! So, I started researching other ideas and in the meantime I remembered my new favorite pair of jeans. These jeans have some really cool embroidered patches on them and my thought was, I can do something similar with my art fabric! I’m still waiting for my first order of fabric to come for making jeans patches, but while I wait, I’m using samples and scraps that I have on hand. So far, I’ve finished one patch and started a second one. Stay tuned for more to come! 🙂