Tag "sewing"

Here are the hand painted linen tea towels I’ve been working on. I’ve been occupied cutting, sewing, washing and painting these 33 tea towels for a while now. Now that I decided that the first series is finished, I taped them up and took some photos. I call them the first series, because I hope to revisit this project in the future and do more series.

Each of them is a functional, one-of-a-kind hand painted tea towel with a cotton hook sewed in the corner. But of course they can be hung or framed on the wall : )









Now that these are finished, I’m going to fully concentrate on the scripts I’ve been writing for several short film ideas. I’m a director, but I’ve been painting way more than filming last few months. It’s been a nice break, but I’m itching (‘dying’ would be more fitting perhaps) to get back to moving image. Time to go back home : )

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Finally I’m making my tea towels! If you had known that I started talking about this project two years ago, you’d be as excited as me. Finally! Is it just me or every project seems to have a need to hibernate in me for a long while until I become too full of it that I have to let it out. Well, the project was simple. I wanted to make a series of hand painted linen tea towels. Simple enough. Then why did it take this long to actually do it? Fear I suppose. Well, let me explain. There are a few reasons why I came up with this project. One, I like handsome tea towels. Oh I really do. They make me feel like I live in a cosy farm house. Two, I like linen. I’m drawn to its texture and how it gets softer with every wash. Three, I wanted to start painting again.

I painted throughout high school. Then I gradually stopped painting in university as I focused on digital media. That was many many years ago. Recently, I wanted to paint again, but the idea of painting on a blank canvas scared me. The permanence of a canvas is darn scary (complete contrary to painting on walls, which will be covered by others in a day or less if the sun’s out). So I decided to paint on tea towels. It is not a precious thing which belongs on a wall, but rather a functional thing which must be used. This somehow takes the pressure off. This might seem insignificant, but for this very reason, this is a milestone for me to actually realize this project.

For about a week now, I’ve been busy with meters of natural linen in different weights. I pre-washed them, cut them, hemmed the edges, painted, iron-pressed for the paint to set, then washed to make them soft again – while listening to Stuff You Should Know podcast none stop (the only podcast I listen to, which is awesomely funny and interesting). I still have a few more to make, but I wanted to share some photos with you : )





Some digital sketches.









I also sewed the cotton loops for easy hanging. What’s a tea towel without a loop?! ; )

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Towards the end of last year, I set up my sewing machine station. It was a very small table space. In fact, the sewing machine’s butt hung off the table. It is not the ultimate sewing station, but it was dedicated all to sewing and that was perfect enough. I believed setting up a small place just to sew would help me to finally make a set of hand painted kitchen towels I dreamt for a (embarrassingly) long time, which was part of my top five 2013 resolutions. I even put a small pot of plant and taped my mock-up kitchen towel pieces on the wall. I was motivated and ready to go.

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One of several spreads of flag sketches
Lots of pinning for sewing curves

The truth is I managed to sew up just one and a half kitchen towels before I got distracted. I don’t know how and why, but I became obsessed with flags. I was looking at old vintage flags and nautical flags. I thought it’d be nice if everyone has his own flag to represent his home. I filled several spreads of my sketchbook with variations of bold minimalistic shapes. After selecting six designs, each went through a process of creating a pattern, cutting the fabric, hand-dyeing individual pieces and sewing them together.

All this may sound like I’m an expert at sewing, but I must confess that I don’t sew frequently or closer to never. I only know the basics of sewing machine, which I picked up from my dad when I was young. I’d love to learn it properly one day from a grandma who can sew up a storm. But that day hasn’t arrived yet, so I had to improvise every step of the way from making a pattern to pinning to sewing. Through it all, I got pretty good at sewing the curves ; ) It might not be the right way or the easiest way, but I have a way.

Only few trimmings left to do, I got occupied with other things and left them hanging for several weeks. And why is it always so difficult to go back to your old projects! But finally yesterday, I got back on my sewing machine and finished the last few trimmings needed to finish the project.

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So here are the finished flags.

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You might ask what I would do with them now. Well, I started the project without thinking about what I would do with them. I simply wanted to make them. Now that they are done, it’d be nice to show them. In few weeks, my boyfriend and I are joining forces to create a website to showcase our art pieces, including this project. But besides the web, I hope I could show them in a physical space. And ultimately, it’d be nice if they find permanent homes. If you got any other ideas, I’d love to hear! Please share them in the comment section.

Now that I’m done with the flags, I must go back to my kitchen towel. Hopefully this time, I won’t be distracted : )




A little update (June 30, 2014)

The website, which showcases these flags and other art pieces, has arrived!
Come by and have a look:

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