July 18, 2015

Getting Closer to Turning Paper into Fabric

A few years ago, I read a Spoonflower guest blog post by Emma that discussed how to turn handwritten recipes into tea towels.  You can read the blog post here.  At the time, my grandmother was in her 80s, and I thought something like this would be meaningful for her children and grandchildren.  So I borrowed her recipe book. 


My mom bought several of these books to support a fundraiser many, many years ago.  She gifted one to me, and mine contains my favorite recipes shared mostly by my mother, but other family members as well.  My grandmother routinely included the name of the person who shared the recipe, and sometimes included the date. 


I loved the idea of tea towels, but thought having fabric would be more fun.  I imagined all the things I could make for my mom and her siblings -- aprons, potholders, casserole covers, napkins, tablecloths, etc.  (Yeah, I got a little carried away.)  I decided to try including several recipe pages into one design to make a repeat pattern that would fill this imaginary fabric.  It took a while to scan all the pages, then clean up the images and remove the backgrounds using Photoshop Elements.  I made an arrangement of four recipes that had originated from my grandmother and each of her daughters.  After working on it for many hours, it looked very boring to me, needed color, and definitely did not repeat. 
I tried a few more layouts, then looked for tutorials on creating repeat patterns in Photoshop Elements.  Eventually, I got bored with it and gave up, thinking that one day when I had more time, I would figure it out. 

Between then and now, my grandmother passed away.  It has become even more important to me to preserve her handwriting in a way that can be shared with her children and grandchildren.  In a serendipitous moment, I ran across a link to Bonnie Christine's blog, Going Home to Roost.  You may know that she designs beautiful fabric for Art Gallery Fabrics.  (Links for all of her fabric collections are on her blog sidebar.) Turns out that she also teaches classes at Skillshare on surface pattern design!  She also teaches at Creative Live, is working with Spoonflower on its four-week SpoonChallenge 2015: Creating a Fabric Collection, and hosts the Roost Tribe, an online membership that cultivates creativity and provides tips, recipes, and all sorts of fun stuff.  I will likely purchase the class at Creative Live, but since Skillshare is a membership website with other types of classes, I signed up there first and enrolled in her classes. 

For now, I'm only watching the lessons a little at a time, and will repeat the lessons from the beginning when I'm ready to try creating a repeat pattern.  So far, I'm loving the classes, and learning so much!  Bonnie shares her journey as a surface pattern designer, and it's quite impressive.  She teaches her tricks for navigating Adobe Illustrator, converting sketches and drawing in Illustrator, and creating repeat patterns that can be used for fabric and other products.  And that's just in her first class!  In the second class, she teaches you how to create a collection.  Bonnie is so encouraging, and shares everything that it took her years to learn.  If learning Illustrator or learning how to design repeat patterns (or an entire pattern collection) interests you, you won't be disappointed with these classes.   Stay tuned -- I'll be back to share more as soon as I begin working with my grandmother's recipe book.  Hopefully, the next time you see it, there will be lots of color and much more personality.    

Hope you're all having a fun weekend!



a good yarn said...

what a wonderful way to remember your grandmother and all those lovely recipes made and shared. I'm looking forward to seeing what you create - those classes sound really interesting.

Karen said...

This sounds amazing, can't wait to hear more about it.

Debbie said...

Love your idea! My first impression was that you could add some color wash across the recipes--like a swipe with an artist brush, keeping it translucent. And maybe add a few line drawn leaves, stems, flourishes. I draw bookmarks on paint color chip cards....which I give away to anyone who reads....and they ar simply motifs I use for free motion quilting. something like that could be great accent.

Stitchin At Home said...

What a splendid way to remember your grandmother. Can't wait to see your results.

Michele said...

I just took a tour of Spoonflower a few days ago! It was amazing! Awesome idea!

Thimbleanna said...

What a wonderful idea -- I can't wait to see your fabric when you get it finished. And thanks for all the tips about Bonnie's classes -- I LOVE her fabrics!

Janan Doster said...

What a wonderful way to honor your Grandmother!
The entire process sounds like a great adventure.
Please keep us posted.