All About the Back- First of Three

One of the wonderful things about postcards is they have two sides/opportunities for art and expression. When I began writing this article I had no idea that there was as much to explore and share about the backs of postcards. This is also one of the beautiful things about creating postcards. You are free do be as expressive as you like and you have two sides to do it!

Some people love to have the word “postcard” on their backs. It can be done as simply as hand writing or using a rubber stamp. Others like to use their computer and print on either fabric or paper, some use TAP or Artist Transfer Paper (more on this later) and yet another group prefers commercially printed backs.

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If having the word “postcard” is not your cup of tea, rubber stamps can also be purchased to frame your postage stamps. Mary Lee Eischen owns a lovely example.

Rubber stamps can also be used to brighten a back or as a salutation.

Of course, people also use their printers to have fun on their backs. Here Maureen Callahan used her printer on paper to share her message for the Elements-Earth exchange.

Kay Laboda used photo transfer to add this image which she also used on the front for the Inspiration Quotes exchange–“You gotta dance like there’s nobody watching…”

While Karin McElvein used photo transfer and a chop she purchased for about $10 during a trip to China in 2001 for the By the Light of the Moon exchange.

To learn more about our members’ chops go to our March 22nd post tilted “Ladies with Chops.”

Please join me on June 6 as we continue our exploration.

Vivian Meets the Cloth, Paper, Scissors Challenge

You know what they say, “If you don’t enter, you can’t win.” Pretty simple, really. Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine challenged their readers to send them mail in the form of postcards. Don’t you wish you could have been at their offices when they started pouring in — all 200 of them, sans envelopes and in great condition?

Vivian Helena took the challenge. The result? Her postcard was one of 43 chosen to be published in the May/June issue that is on the news stands now. Here’s the first page of the article:Page 88 shows Vivian’s postcard (middle row, right).

The inspiration for this particular postcard was Vivian’s friend Jane, who sends beautiful birthday cards year after year. Vivian decided to take one of those treasured cards apart so she could use the wire flower on a special fabric postcard. Jane lives in Southern California, near the ocean so Vivian included water on the postcard. She used her hand dyed fabrics and commercial batiks. In addition, she hand painted the sky and used yarn, beads and wire flowers.

The editors of Cloth, Paper, Scissors said, “Be brave and send your art through the mail. You’ll make the recipient and the postal carrier smile.” We at Postmark’d Art would add that creating these mini treasures is a lot of fun!

You can find out what else Vivian is up to on her blog.

Featured Artist Marianne Bishop

Marianne Bishop lives and creates in Quincy, Massachusetts.

1. Tell me a little about yourself.

Even as a child fabrics and fibers interested me. My little Ginny dolls had lovely crocheted dresses to wear and I was quite young when I crocheted a complicated popcorn stitch bed-jacket for my mother. I live in the large city of Quincy, Massachusetts, which offers a public transit system allowing easy access to Boston Museum of Art and the wonderfully creative Cambridge community.

2. Why did you join Postmark’d Art?

My local the fabric shop, where I had taken quilting classes, offered a one-day fabric postcard class. We were given a demonstration and an exciting display of creative samples to get us interested. The shop also provided us with the supplies necessary to make three postcards.  I was hooked!

3. When did you start making postcards?

Joining Postmark’d Art was really a piece of luck for me. While searching the Internet for fabric postcards, I came across Franki Kohler’s website.  It seemed very professional to me and I wrote Franki to see if, just maybe, she thought I would be creative enough to join in the next swap. She has been an inspiration ever since to me: a true mentor and leader. All the creative cards from the members of Postmark’d Art keeps me on my toes.

4. How do you display your postcards?

Unlike many, I have a different way of sharing my treasures. The newest cards are displayed on my china cabinet but the rest are in a plastic box that I freely lend out to my friends. This allows them to share the cards with their friends and family and gives them the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy looking and comparing all the different techniques. One of the things they also find fascinating is the variety of states and countries the cards come from.

5. What have been some of your favorite themes?

Some of my favorite themes have been the Elements ones. We would make a 12 x 12 piece then cut it into six postcards (keeping one and swapping the other five). It was extremely challenging and fun to make Bark using painted fusible web. This particular technique produced a fascinating card that even felt like bark. For Rain and Wind, I created them totally by hand and the resulting effect was pleasing and graceful, so much so that I used them for my No Theme swap too.

Working on the different themes, I discovered that I love needle felting by hand. I don’t have a studio and was able to leave my work out on the table to add additional embellishments or roving to as needed until my idea was created.

6. Tell me about your other interests.

My other interests include quilting, quilted tote bags, simple beading, painting, knitting and crocheting.

First Friday Studio Tour – Diana Mains Welte

This month we travel to Maysville, Kentucky to visit with Diana Mains Welte.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room? To yourself, to friends and family? Why do you think this is so? Difference in starting point between quilting and art? Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

I call it my studio. I have always steadfastly had a studio in my home, since day one back in college. It’s been a corner, a table, a wall, a room, an outside workspace, a rented workspace, a huge room in my house, and again a wall. But I’ve always been an artist of some kind and I think artists need studios. It was important to me to have a dedicated space so art didn’t get lost in my busy days. That it was, in and of itself, valuable. By having a studio, my children respected it as my work and I was more productive.

My studio is on the third floor of a historic apartment building in Maysville, Kentucky overlooking the Ohio River. I can see Ohio from my house. 

What do you have in the room? machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc. Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

Definitely not as much as I did when I lived in our house – 13 rooms with the entire front room my studio. I was sewing clothing then and had clients coming in the home for fittings, etc. Then we moved to our apartment, and I stopped sewing clothing. And had to downsize. What a task! I gave away, sewed things to gift and sell, used it up. It took a while. Now I am down to one room, my wall studio, and creative storage. I own seven sewing machines – 2 Bernina 1080’s (what a workhorse), 2 Featherweights, another Singer, a Necchi and my grandmother’s Remington treadle. They come out from under the desk and table as needed. Fabric, paints, paperclay, beads, paper.

The wall – this is it.  The complete studio.  Shelves, worktable, fabric table and short bookshelf. And my white chair that I rescued almost 20 years ago from someone’s garbage.

How is your “stuff” organized? How do you organize your fabric? By color? Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)? How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

Art supplies are in the cupboard above the worktable and on the top of the bookcase in front of the window. You can see the bookshelves (the one on the top is from the mail car of an old train.) That holds paper art supplies. The boxes on top – including the cigar boxes – hold wire and beads for jewelry making. And the fabric lives in the large white cabinet to the right of the workspace. Yarn is in a tub under the worktable.

My bookshelf holds favorite books and magazines and my collection of brushes, markers, pencils and other notions.

My other set of shelves.  Both came from second hand stores.The lower shelves hold my subscription magazines and saved book covers from battered books.The upper unit is from the mail car from an old train. It holds a multitude of supplies: blocks of Creative PaperClay, eraser material for stamp carving, my dremel tool, my crop-a-dile, paint sets, paper punches, etc. The boxes on top hold beads, wire, and grommets.

The antique cabinet that sits on a granite top kitchen table is where the fabric lives.

The fabric cabinet and my button boxes.

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house. How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

We have one small room that used to be organized but, after our son Noah came to stay during his judicial attorney job with our local court, well, let’s just say it’s on our to-do list, so we can find everything we know we own that is missing. LOL. For me, it houses plastic tubs of wool, yarn and old linen, as well as odds and ends. For Noah… who knows? When baseball season ends (Noah coaches), we shall tackle that job.

AAAACK! The dreaded storage room.  Soon to be rearranged. I do know what everything is though and that is a major accomplishment in itself.

I work on things as I watch tv but, afterward, the projects have to go into the studio. I keep a basket by my chair and clear off the rest as much as possible. My ottoman does overflow sometimes, but I sort that all out and move it back into the studio on a regular basis. Honestly, we live IN the studio. The wall is in my bedroom, the bookcases in the living room. Joe’s office is in the second bedroom as he works from home too. Noah’s room is the former dining room. But it is all incorporated into our home so it’s not too noticeable. Right now we’re a family of 4 living in a small space (3 humans and the cat who allows us to live here), so we aren’t too concerned about the décor… more about artful storage.

My comfy knitting chair, another thrift store find.  The items on the marble top dresser behind, like my grandmother’s dresser set, and the gifts from my children are priceless. The sewing machine is my grandmother’s old treadle.  The stained glass window was the transom window from my paternal grandparents’ home; it was over the front door.

Living room bookcases.  The basket was made by my daughter when she was young.

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough? Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

Just the work table and a folding table that comes out if I ever need to sew large things. But I don’t use it much anymore as my art, artist books and jewelry are small work. So the work table is all I need. When I paint, I use a dropcloth on the floor and cover the table. And, no.. it’s not enough. 🙂

My worktable used to be drafting table height.  It was a gift from my dad and my sisters.The first family birthday gift the year after my mom passed in 1979.  I wouldn’t part with it for anything.  The topper is a mustard color topper to a Hoosier cabinet that I found at a second hand shop.  It fits the table top like it was custom made.  The drawers hold special markers like my expensive Copics, buttons, soldering supplies, vintage trims, and other odds and ends. Behind the wire covered doors are glue, resin, thread boxes, and cutting tools.The boxes on top hold polymer clay tools, sterling wire and findings and, in the blue box top right, my beloved Dr.Martin Inks and nib pens. Underneath is one Featherweight and one of my Berninas, and the tubs that hold the current quilts in progress and sock yarn.

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project? How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I do put things away as I go. I didn’t used to, but now have to be better about that. I am the queen of plastic bags… should buy stock in those companies. I have work in progress in the gallon size bags and they live in totes, stored with their instructions and supplies. That also helps when I travel as I can grab whichever bag I want and add any needed supplies.

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

I was honestly a bit sad when I had to give up my previously large room, but now 2 years in, I get more accomplished with my smaller space. My family gifted me with polymer clay supplies at Christmas and I just bought a small kiln for ceramics. We plan to move to the greater Cincinnati area within the year – after Noah moves into a more permanent law job. I will definitely be looking for a place with room for my clay work.

My assistant, babykitty, at work. She’s the brains behind the business.

Thank you Diana for a delightful tour.  You have certainly provided lots of ideas for the creative use of space.

Visit Diana’s blog, Lilyweeds.

Next Month: Karen Musgrave