I haven’t made anything for myself for over one year, as my dear sweetheart pointed out to me recently. And the good husband that he is, he made me swear that I would start working on a project for myself and my own amusement next. …or as I did put it: as soon as possible. 😉
However much fun it is to make things for other people, one has always to be careful not to work oneself to the brink of creative exhaustion. Therefore I find it really important to do a fun project from time to time in order to recharge the internal batteries. It feels to me like a creative recharge every now and then gets me beyond the point of “just making a thing”. It enables me to go one step further – to open my mind for inspiration, to allow myself to get creative and to execute techniques and patterns I haven’t tried yet. Yes, in my opinion inspiration is a very important part of every creative process and project but it is also a very fragile flower which needs some occasional pampering. And to work oneself into a burn out doesn’t really help anyone as the recovery process can take quite some time. I am glad that my sweetheart takes such a good care of me and reminds me to take a break once in a while.
So well, here I was with my promise, thinking about a fun project for myself. Lucky me, our last trips to nearby SCA events provided me very fast with a solution for my sweet misery. I am definitely in a great need for more clothing concerning my 12th century wardrobe. And, as it happens, I have just the right fabric for it… *giggle* Oh, yes, I have some lovely white raw silk for a snuggly and soft underdress as well as some beautiful light blue raw silk which I brought home from Gulf Wars. The great deals one can find at the leftover fabric table of 96 District Fabrics at Gulf Wars are truly amazing. I might have just enough light blue raw silk for a new short 12th century dress for me.
But you know me, I am not talking about a simple, short 12th century dress. Recently I had so much fun with making my own stamps and block printing that I am quite determined to make some new stamps and to block print the whole fabric. And then I might print it even a little more or maybe even add some embroidery… Yes, you find me quite enthusiastic. For the very first time since I started with this hobby in about 1999/2000, I find myself in a position where I am able to embellish so much fabric in so little time. But don’t take me wrong – embroidery always has been and for ever will be my first and true love. However, I have to admit that it is nice to be able to embellish fabric without working weeks or months on a small piece. Well, I am far from giving up on embroidery but it feels great to be able to add small side projects now and then which are finished in just a few days or a week… *lol*
And who is to blame for the new block printing hobby? My husband! …of course! …who else!?! 😉
I nearly couldn’t believe it when I finished my husband’s Lazarus fighting tabard for crown tourney this spring. Including cutting the block and printing the fabric – I completed the whole project in just about a week. Ok, my husband helped me with the blockprinting and I sewed the tabard with the sewing machine but damn, that was fast… On the other hand – there was not much time left when I started this project and he really, REALLY, wanted to have a crusader fighting tabard for crown tournament. In retrospective I am very glad that I gave in to this madness as he looks really adorable in it. And I think he really likes his order of St. Lazarus / crusader fighting tabard as it became a basic part of his fighting kit. You can see him wearing his new fighting tabard on the picture on the right.
And all that started rather innocently with a single playful project. I simply wanted to find out if I still did know how to execute the linoleum cutting technique – something I learnt about 25 or more years ago at school and which I haven’t used since. I got me some linoleum, a rather cheap cutting set and made a small “legion of the bear” and “sable sword” stamp. I was quite thrilled how great the print looked when I started printing with them. And as this fun projects go – my interest blossomed based on the quick success I had. Slowly, with every little print I made, block printing started to turn into a new past time, which I enjoy tremendously now. Developing the patterns on the surface and cutting the linoleum is – like embroidery – quite meditative. I can leave all my troubles of the day behind and just focus on one cut after another. And after the very first, quite hesitant cuts I lost my initial fear and even started cutting bigger blocks and enjoyed it…
So, well, the stage is set. I have a lovely fabric and I chose my “faborite weapon” for now: block printing! But the main actor is still missing and I have to make the decision which pattern I want to carve and what color I want to give it. In a certain way it’s a bittersweet task. There are just so many lovely period pattern I could use for my time period – therefore the important question is: which one?
…and I might have already found the perfect period candidates for my Romanesque / early medieval inspired printing project:
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I know, so many lovely possibilities and good excuses for so many new 12th century projects… How can I pick just one when the possible choices are all so cute and fun… *lol* Well, we will see what I will do soon… 😉