Part of my plan to continue the development of my studio practice during 2010 is to start making handmade cards again. This is something that I used to do in the past, with varying periods of productivity, but which I have all but abandoned over the last couple of years.
When making handmade cards I find that there are various obstacles to overcome in very particular stages of the process:
Coming up with a good design idea
Always a tricky one this. Coming up with something that people will want to buy, that looks like it took some effort and skill to make, and which is avant-garde but not too off the wall.
Once that a good idea has come to mind the next big challenge is trying to make it into something that can be produced efficiently a multiple number of times. All of my cards to date have been made using mixed media (paper, card, beads, sequins, hand drawn/painted sections). This means that each card of the same design is unique whilst also becoming a batch of limited edition mini artworks.
This is the most challenging part. Creating a design that I will be as motivated and enthusiastic about producing for the first and fiftieth time. I am not sure if I have ever managed to achieve this! On a more practical basis I find it motivates me if I can produce the designs in stages, each section eventually being layered together onto blank cards. This means that you finish multiple cards at the same time and feel a real sense of progression and completion.
I adopted this layered technique for this design I completed for a wedding invitation a few years ago:
I had to produce just over 50 of these and was quite pleased with the result, although from what I can remember it was quite time consuming (and very frustrating waiting for glue to dry!).
Up until now the techniques involved have been drawing, painting, cutting, tearing, sticking and threading. What I would really also like to include is some stitching elements into the designs. With this thought I purchased the following sewing machine from ebay a few years ago:
Unfortunately I have never been able to get the blinking thing working! All of the parts work (including the foot pedal), I just cannot get it to sew.
Frustratingly there is a rainbow assortment of coloured thread that came with the machine which sits collecting dust waiting to be used. (and seemingly mocking my stupidity). After attempting to thread the machine following the enclosed instruction on numerous occasions I had all but given up.
However, I am determined to try and get it working again over the Christmas period ready for the New Year. If anyone has any advice to get the thing working please, please, please let me know - any help will be gratefully received!
Back to the Christmas present painting now. I am making good progress but it is not quite finished yet. I will post the results after Christmas when the new owners have been presented with the (hopefully completed) painting.