Fabric, Watercolours and Embroidery

Human beings… have an inherent tendency to seek out novelty & challenges, to extend and exercise their capabilities, to explore, and to learn.
Daniel Pink


ATC “Gotland”, a keeper. I made this on the boat to the island Gotland this spring.

The first line of waves (top) is confident and rhythmic, but the second line of waves are… not even looking like waves. This is how experimentation sometimes end up. Not masterpieces but small pieces of memory, of that time and place when I was sitting at the cafe a few hours with the board ladies who all were knitting at the time.

I have made lots of paper ATC’s that I traded to people all over the world. But with fabric ATC’s I’ve decided to keep some of my own. They are little keeper of memories, like journal entries almost. I’ve learned this idea in my embroidery group where some of the ladies have made “memory ATC’s” for a few years now. An ATC can be slowly born during a holiday abroad, for example.

Dots ATC by iHanna
ATC “Dots”, traded to mom.

On a few of my artist trading cards I’ve experimented with the combination of watercolours on fabric, and then stitching on top of that. It’s like making a little painting and then outlining with thread. Like Dots, and the ocean one above. I love to be able to use my favorite colours and mix them together without having to fill stitch the whole surface (great example of watercolour and embroidery found here). Next I want to experiment with appliqué a bit more.

Dots (detail) ATC by iHanna
Close-up of ATC Dots.

I made this one, “Vintage feel”, at a embroidery exhibition this summer:
Vintage feel ATC by iHanna
It’s mish-mash of ribbons, buttons, a string of white pearls from a broken bracelet, and glitter thread. Not sure if I like it, but someone in the embroidery group (Ulla) did and it’s been given away. It now lives in her embroidered ATC collection.

This too, have been traded:
Blue atc by iHanna
I made it on a small piece of blue cloth that mom gave me.

I thought she’d like this one but she just said:

– That looks like something I could’ve done, and then she choose the pink dots instead, because they remind her of me. I think that is a good reminder to make keep making what you love…

I show through in the works made from my heart. When I choose a colour that isn’t in my own colour palette I make something that doesn’t look like me, I change place and the work change style.

ATC summer 2011
♥ The pile of artist trading cards I’ve made this summer! I wrote about the thread nests here and the organza flower here. I’ve also made a tutorial on how to finish a fabric card.

Be well!

17 Responses

  1. This is dazzling…………I like the thread nests……..now I know what to do with the thread patches I get when my bobbin isnt in right. Thank you for the inspiration Hanna♥

    • Debie, right? Thanks for leaving me a comment and calling my little cards “dazzling” — wow! Glad you can think positive about your bobbin misshaps from now on, hehe, personally I hate when those happen! ;-)

  2. Hi Hanna, what beautiful things you’ve made here. I wonder, do you do anything to protect them when finished? Watercolours……water, raindrops ??

    • Laila, thanks for your lovely comment my dear! I have not used anything to protect the watercolour surface, I want to keep the feel of thread and fabric. So no, don’t think they would hold up very well to a tropic storm, but I made them as artist trading cards and I hope whomever gets them will keep them safe. :-)

    • Cynthia Eloise,
      I usually draw the ATC size onto a bigger piece of fabric and create it before cutting it out, in that way at least I have some edges to hold while stitching. :-) Thanks for leaving me a comment!

    • Caatje, thanks, so glad you enjoyed my embroidered ATCs. I love your pink inktense flowers a lot, they are oh so pretty! I’m drawing flowers in my art journal too right now… Or I don’t know… flowers, doodles, mandalas, patterns – a mix of it all just filling the pages. Yum!

    • FranT, thank you for leaving visiting me too and leaving such a sweet comment! I totally love your drawings and doodles!

  3. I haven’t done anything with fabric for year… just got tired of it after graduating as a ‘textile teacher’ (I went to art school to become a teacher in art/painting/drawing and textile’fabrics’) Seeing your ATC’s, it’s for the first time I feel an itch… it might be something to pick up again during the cold and dark December evenings… your ATC’s are really inspiring!!

    • Marit, what an honour it would be to be the one who started the textile itch back up again. I hope you give it a try, making ATCs are addicting. Let me know if you make some and we’ll trade!

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