Wednesday, May 07, 2008

An Italian challenge

I received a parcel in the mail yesterday which took me by surprise, since I'd almost had forgotten about this thing. I spent a lot of time last summer dreaming up ideas for this project, and had lots of fun putting it together before I sent it off to Quilting Arts Magazine and their postcard challenge. I didn't enter with high hopes about it being featured in the magazine, and indeed it wasn't, but I saw it more as a challenge to myself - working with an idea and producing something within a set timeframe. As I said, it was a lot of fun. I couldn't believe how many ideas just bubbled to the surface, even during sleep, and it was so much fun to see how I could put it all to use.
Yesterday I got my little book of postcards back, which means I can safely share it with you now.

The challenge was to make a book consisting of four postcards (6 x 4") from a certain holiday destination, or depicting a holiday mood. The ones that were featured in the magazine were fantastic, but thanks to the internet I get to share mine with you here.

I spun a tale about two female friends who were set to go on holiday in Italy. One of them falls ill and is unable to go, so her friend has to go alone, and sends postcards back home to her friend telling her all about it. Or does she tell all?
In the beginning she is a bit sad and wary of being there on her own, but from one card to the next you get the sense that the magic of Italy is winning her over, and she is being seduced by the landscape, travelling in Italy, the art, the food,...or is it by the men? Or maybe one man in particular...? In the last card she hints about not coming home at all, so who knows?

I printed the text on Extravorganza which I stitched to the back of each card. I used a busy handwriting fabric as a backing, drybrushing it with white paint, because I wantedthe writing to be very subtle, but it would probably have been better if I had chosen a less busy fabric underneath.
I used a lot of cliches about Italy - the Tuscan landscape with sunflowers and cypress trees and that lovely apricot sky you see in the early evening.

Photos and ephemera from my own holidays were transferred to fabric, and the travellers exclamations about the wonders of the place were written with Pigma pens (The Art! The Landscape! ...)
Travelling in Italy was depicted with a threadpainted image of a train compartment on a background of pages from an Italian - English dictionary (which happens to be open on the page of "amore"...)
A copy of the receipt for a fine I had to pay on an Italian train once, for failing to understand about "il supplemento", which you are supposed to pay when you travel on the fastest trains, was included.

One page just had to be devoted to Italian food: pasta (the spaghetti is actually some string painted yellow with black "olive" beads), pizza, mozzarella, tomatoes, fruit and of course:

the love of gelato!

No fairytale of Italy would be complete without a visit in Venice. The canals, the glass from Murano (more beads) and of course the men - this is the final card with the not so subtle hints about reasons for staying... Here I have used a faded map of Venice for the background.
All in all I had a great time putting this together, and reliving memories of travels in Italy, different episodes and hints that only I and my travelling companions would recognize, for instance the heavy chenille yarn I have zigzaged around each card, in memory of a hideously dusty chenille curtain in a hallway of a seedy Genovese hotel, where we stayed one memorable night and where most rooms were probably rented by the hour... And lots more, that I'm not going to tell you about ;-)


Penny said...

A very impressive book of postcards!

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Lily Boot said...

what a lovely, lovely idea - I have been thinking about postcards for a while now, but I particularly love that you made such an imaginative and rich story out of yours - I love quilting along to a story! I tell myself the story as I sew - very jolly. :-)