Train ticket art project

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen me posting slightly curious photos of what I was doing last week.

A few years ago, I started collecting train tickets rather than throwing them away after journeys, because it occurred to me that they were the perfect size for little pieces of art or personalized labels/tags or business cards.  In the UK they are just a bit smaller than ATCs (Artists’ Trading Cards), and have nicely rounded edges.  Also, whenever you go on one train journey you seem to acquire about 8 of these, particularly as it often works out cheaper to split the journey into two rather than buying one for the whole way (even if you stay on the same train for the whole journey) – daft, I know!

I’ve been randomly experimenting with them over the years, painting over some of them with black or white gesso to cover them, but last week I realised that I have several hundred of them now so decided to do it systematically.  It was also fun to look back over where I had been and recall nice memories of days out.

I laid down some textured wallpaper (which has now been randomly decorated in a pastel coloured rectangular grid!) and here is the first lot of tickets.

This is a mixture of white gesso and opaque white screenprinting ink which was getting a bit thick and needed to be used up.

I painted the first side and left it to dry.  I got bored with white after a while and mixed some Dr PH Martin inks into it to have a bit of variety.

Once dry, I flipped them over and repeated the process.  The whole thing took me most of last week but it was quite a meditative process and now I have a box of ready made artist cards.  Now, the thing is, I’ve been feeling that I need to do a bit of art or sketching every day to keep my arty mojo going …

So…. I’m going to set myself an Art Challenge: to paint or draw on one each day … at least until Christmas.  I’m not going to labour over them or take a great deal of time, just have fun and splash paint or mess around with a pen and a doodle, and I’ll post them on Instagram using the hashtag #trainticketart .  If you would like to join me, I’d love the company!  Let’s see how much #trainticketart we can produce! Just leave a comment here,  post pics on Instagram or Twitter or on your blog and if it takes off I’ll start a shared Pinterest board to pin them all.  Let’s see if we can create a buzz!!

Here are a few examples of the cards I’ve already experimented with:

Hope to see you on the journey!!

Patternmaking in MMID Summer School

This blog has been a bit quiet over the summer so far – my youngest son did his A levels then as soon as they were finished we had a few days in London, followed by a blissful fortnight at Limone on Lake Garda in Italy (if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the ginormous ice creams we consumed in Sirmione at the south side of the lake, plus various picturesque photos of lakes and mountains).

To get my pattern-creating mojo going again, I signed up for the Make it in Design Summer School.  This is a free course which consists of three assignments at two-week intervals.  It has three tracks: beginner, intermediate and advanced and we could sign up for as many tracks as we wanted to, so being a sucker for punishment I signed up for all three.  It has been great fun!  There is a really chatty and supportive Facebook group where we have all been sharing our struggles and emerging designs where people's skill levels range from complete beginner to seasoned professional!  Even though I've been using Photoshop and Illustrator for over a year now, there are still aspects which I struggle with (lots!) and this group has been great for solving some of the questions and problems – especially making mockups of patterns on product images to see how they might look when manufactured. 

The galleries of the first brief are here:

http://makeitindesign.com/summer-school-galleries/

The beginners' brief was a Tropical theme.  In true contrariness, I actually found the advanced brief the easiest and did that first.  Last weekend I had a nasty fluey type lurgy and really didn't think I'd get any of them done but in the end they seemed to come together.   Before I got ill I got the paints out and had a lot of fun splashing round making water marks and generally playing.  This tropical pattern actually started with the background.  I did it a couple of months ago when I had some paint to use up – I had drawn a couple of circles to start me off and I sort of doodled the paint around.  I then added the other elements which I'd already scanned into Photoshop – the texture started off as a tiny homemade stamp carved out of an eraser.

You can see my pattern on this page – http://makeitindesign.com/wp-content/plugins/photo-contest/view.php?post_id=4958&order=uname&p=3

The Intermediate brief was for a geometric, retro style pattern that could go on a swimsuit.  I'm not sure if this really qualifies as geometric but it was a sort of painted mark making exercise with a flat brush, much more my style than graphic geometrics produced in Illustrator.

My pattern is on this page, together with another photo of the pattern mocked up on a swimsuit: http://makeitindesign.com/wp-content/plugins/photo-contest/view.php?post_id=5060&order=uname&p=5

The theme of the advanced track was water and for this one I used some of the painted marks that I had had so much fun with, combined with some bubble prints that I did about a year ago. 

This pattern is on this page, with another of it mocked up on some cushions – http://makeitindesign.com/wp-content/plugins/photo-contest/view.php?post_id=5058&order=uname&p=4

We were given suggested colour swatches for the three patterns and as mine match fairly well across the levels, I've made it into a Tropical collection:

Recent Work Process

It is May and the wisteria is out in glorious bloom on the front of our house so I’ve been busy painting it!  I love the way it sways in the breeze, almost like waves on the sea.

I did the purple blooms first and here is my paint palette while I’m adding the green stems and buds in between.

Spoonflower fabric

I’m just writing a short blog post this time because I am experimenting with a new plugin which allows me to write blog posts in Evernote and post them to the blog automatically.  It’ll be a lot easier to blog if this works because I use Evernote a lot.

This is some of the fabric that I got printed on Spoonflower and it is now available for sale in my shop.   I had it printed on the silky faille which is polyester – it took the colours really well and has a nice feel to it.

Woo hoo! It worked!

Dipping my toe into Spoonflower

Over the last few months I’ve been gradually uploading designs to Spoonflower, the fabric printing company, with the eventual aim of selling them.    At the end of last year I won a free giveaway they were offering, of a pattern and 3 yards of the fabric of my choice, so that gave me the impetus to get going.  I still haven’t ordered the fabric but I have ordered swatches of a number of designs so that I can check the colours are what I expected.

Those haven’t arrived yet, but earlier this year Spoonflower offered a free swatch printing on a new fabric, silky faille, so I took advantage of it, and was pleased with the results:

swatch of spoonflower fabric I ordered

Swatch of my fabric design!

You can see the full design here.

Spoonflower also run monthly design competitions based on various themes, and this month’s is lilies, so since I had one which fits the bill, I decided to enter it.  I don’t suppose it has much chance of winning as there are a huge lot of entries this month, but I would love it if you could vote for my design here!  This is a screenshot of it:

Spoonflower lilies

Here is my spoonflower shop widget with pics of a few of the designs:


Decluttering the printing surface

the piles of junk on my worktable - before pic

Ick! What a mess!

I thought I’d share a few pics of my workroom.  This is what my printing table normally looks like.   As though an art supply shop had vomited all over it.  With some haberdashery chucked in for good measure.

messy worktable

Hmm, a bit messy, eh?

Every so often I have to have a good clear out or it gets too much to create anything there, it seems to mess up my head as well.

stripped back to the bare bones

One afternoon I decided to clear everything off and put the dropcloth in the washing machine.  This is what the print table looks like underneath all that clutter.  Wow, wish it looked like this all the time!

P1020688

I have a large piece of MDF laid on top of the table, and a piece of carpet underlay over that, which creates the soft surface for printing.

P1020693

Here is the table with a clean dropcloth on top, bearing the dyeing marks from a previous printing session or ten!

Wish I could say it still looks like that now, but unfortunately it is more like the top photo again… that clean table top lasted less than a day.  But it definitely unleashed some creativity…

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