I went for it! Yep, I was working on my dress when suddenly I realized that I had signed up to participate in the 5th Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap. The theme was Discover. One thing I discovered was that it was a bigger deal than I thought it would be. It’s all very well to say ‘yeah I’ll just throw something together and it’ll be cute and fun and all, but actually, knowing that something I was making was going to be the one and only representation of me to another person made it more intense, let alone the whole adding it to the Flickr pool aspect of it. Anyway, I was irritated with myself for saying yes to too many things and interrupting my momentum on other things, but at the same time participating in these kinds of things is really me. It’s fun and not too serious. It’s a way to connect with other artists. And it’s mail art, which is SO COOL.
How to express the idea of discovery? The possibilities were daunting. But I have wanted to make an advent calendar ever since my nephew was born, and the idea of attempting to make one for this project (luckily) popped into my head. I’ve also been saving cardboard for a stop-motion set I have in mind, so I went ahead and cut out some doors. What follows is a more or less thorough tutorial that I decided to write because not so much because I think people will want to do it, but because I do want to make an advent calendar at some point and I won’t remember all the little issues I had unless I get them down while the process of ‘discovery’ (sorry) is still fresh.
I started by cutting out the windows. Originally I had been thinking of actually spelling out the word ‘discover’, but decided against it in the end.
My fabric choice, some pale green linen from an old shirt.
Next to choose the cover and back. It was off to my trusty collage totes where two images from an article of Organic Gardening (with photos by Robert M. Peacock). Once I had them glued on and tried to see how it looked, I realized the interior of the doors needed something, so I used a piece of Venetian marbled paper (all the way from Venice in a friend’s suitcase!)
I glued a beautiful piece of Venetian marbled paper on the back of the front piece so the inside of the doors would be pretty. I had some Photomount which was great for placing the fabric and making sure the doors were aligned because I could peel it back if it wasn’t right. Once they were on I sewed the two layers together on the machine.
A skirt tie from a fabric foraging session at Goodwill worked as ready made bias tape to cover up the raw edge, and I used an awl to hold the mitred corners down while I sewed over them. For it to be really exact, though, next time I would use some of that narrow adhesive seam tape to get the mitres just so. As it is, they’re a little wonky, but I don’t mind.
The embroidery was pretty bumpy—I want to work on that: sometimes less is more—and the doors wouldn’t close all the way, so I used green star stickers to keep them closed. Next time, I’ll make two sets of the door layers and sandwich an unembellished one with the doors cut off so it’s a layer of just portals. When the doors on the top layer opens, it will truly be more like a little diorama inside.
P.S. I think the pears are my favorite window.