Thursday, January 07, 2010

Peace and the process of card making

Happy New Year! Now that Christmas is over, it's safe to reveal the mysterious process behind this year's card. Hmm, ink, stencil, a mini potato stamp – not really that mysterious, but I hate to ruin the surprise that good old fashioned mail offers. So here, now, a look behind the cosmic mess that was my 2009 xmas card:

A couple of my favourite finished cards. The best part about the fact that the process evolves as I make more and more cards is that each one is very different – it's fun to flip through the stack after and find one that feels just right for the person I'm sending it to. Cute dots, or an explosion?

It started with some bus-ride-brainstorming in my sketchbook:

The note on the side says "make a stencil - paint lines with watercolour - thin brush." Which is exactly what I did.

I was kind of in love with the way the stencil looked after painting several cards, and considered stopping everything, scanning it in and making a card design out of that. Ha. Isn't it beautiful?

But I kept painting the cards. I did lots of tests with different colours, different brush strokes etc. until I was fairly happy.

Then I set about splattering the backgrounds of forty cards. I wanted it to look layered, to create a watery winter universe for my peace and stars to float in.

I newspapered the kitchen floor, plastered the bottom cupboards with garbage bags to create a mini spray booth of sorts, and set up a clothesline so I could hang the cards to angle the drips just right.

When I had splattered and stenciled each card, long after the mulled wine and sausage rolls were finished and all friends had left, I called it a day. But I didn't feel like the cards were finished. There was something missing. I spent a couple of weeks looking at them and entertaining various options for that essential last detail. Also effectively procrastinating the writing and mailing part of the process (never as much fun as the making). When I couldn't wait any longer I turned to my old friend the potato.

Actually a very small piece of a potato in this case. The smallest potato stamp I've ever made:

I added a tiny star to each card, in whichever corner called for it. I had felt like the cards were too floaty, dreamy, watery – that's the mood I was going for, but they needed one sharp-edged component to provide focus. One bright yellow star.

And another on the back of each envelope:

Another year, another card. This year more than ever paper cards seemed to be on their way out, but I don't want to give up the excuse to dedicate a whole day to making a mess in the apartment and letting an idea take shape from whatever whims come over me as a result of the mulled wine, treats, and friends. And the hope that people will be thrilled to open up something unexpected.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I am impressed by all the work. Fantastic. And great to read how it all came about. Don't give it up as it is such a treat to open your card each year and see what your creative processes have come up with. Fantastic results!!!

Anonymous said...

Impressive, that's my response. Impressive to follow the process, finding a way to create artspace in your apt. Cathie