April’s Free First Saturday art-making activity featured local artist Sarah Nassif who is known for her beautiful botanical motifs. Below, Sarah shares her inspiration for the project and steps for how to create your own Pop Botanicals at home.
DOMESTIC TEXTILES IN THE 60’S
Designers like Maija Isola and Vera Neumann helped domestic textiles keep up with the sweeping changes in art, fashion and architecture that took place in the 1960’s. Boxy, modern houses demanded textile color and motif that filled and fit with their open interiors. Expressive geometric repeats and oversized motifs in saturated color came into vogue in fashion, housewares and home décor. Textiles were an inexpensive way to deliver this rush of new style in the form of wall hangings, tablecloths, even bedding.
My earliest childhood memories include the huge Marimekko wall hangings, Isola’s Villikaali (1967) and Strawberry Mountains (1969), my mother favored as a cost-effective way to decorate the two houses she and my dad built in the 60’s and 70’s. I loved setting the table with her Vera table cloths which were used daily.And I still share her conviction that lively prints make anything a party.
WHERE TO FIND 60’S TEXTILES
Check out a wide array of Marimekko fabrics locally at FinnStyle. Vera’s work has recently been resurrected at Anthropologie and Macy’s, but I like to visit vintage stores and thrifts to find her designs on scarves, dishes and home textiles.
MAKE YOUR OWN PRINTED FABRIC
Textiles are a fun way to redecorate on a budget. It is easy to print fabric featuring a motif of your own design at home. You can use your handmade fabric to make a wall hanging, pillow covers, bags, a tablecloth, etc.
WHAT YOU NEED
-Fabric for your project. Stick to 100% natural fibers like cotton or linen for best results. Choose a smooth, flat weave. Cotton broadcloth is easy to work with.
-Water-based textile inks. Speedball makes the most readily available line. Be sure to choose their fabric inks, not their acrylics. Available at local art supply shop Penco on Washington Avenue.
-A foam paint brushor a sponge, rubber brayer, a plastic lid to hold ink, and a flat surface such as a scrap of Plexiglas.
HOW TO PRINT
-Design to print: cut out foam shapes and glue them on cardboard to make a printing block. Or collect leaves that are leathery and flexible for direct leaf printing.
-For block prints, roll your ink on a scrap of glass or plexi with the brayer until it is smooth and even. Roll the ink onto your printing block. Press your inked image onto flattened fabric.
-For plant prints, use the lid to mix your ink, thinning with water if needed. Use the foam brush or sponge to daub ink all over the underside of a leaf—the veins make a more interesting print. Position the leaf ink side down on the fabric. Place a paper towel over the top and use the brayer to imprint the ink into the fabric. Carefully peel off the leaf when done. You can reuse a sturdy leaf many times.
IDEAS AND TRICK
-Inspiration: use your digital camera to snap photos of patterns in nature and around the city. You can translate these into simple shapes that you can cut out for your block print. Or use actual plant material for printing.
-Try repeating your motif to achieve different effects. Print them staggered or in a grid repeat, or scatter them at random.
-Try overprinting different colors to see how they layer and blend.
-Combine different motifs to create a mural design.
Marimekko: Fabrics, Fashion, Architecture Ed. Marianne Aav
Twentieth Century Pattern Design Lesley Jackson
Maija Isola—Life, Art, Marimekko Eds. Marianne Aav, Harri Kivilinna, Eeva Viljanen
Textile Designs Elffers Meller