I love the bold black and red forms of this print by Sir Terry Frost, entitled, “Red and Black Solid.”
I have been struggling for weeks to finalize the fabric colors I’ll be adding to the Cotton & Flax Fall/Winter collection, and I have to admit, I’ve been feeling a bit stuck. There are so many beautifully dyed linens available, it has been really hard to narrow down my choices.
The bottom four fabrics in each of these stacks are what I’d call the “Core Colors” of Cotton & Flax. These four colors, a natural unbleached linen, a dark charcoal grey, a strange mossy yellow green, and a minty seafoam green, have been the foundational fabrics of my textiles since I began printing on fabrics in 2009. I have occasionally experimented with a new color here and there, but these four colors have been the standard that I keep returning to.
I am thinking about adding a few new colors, and while I think I may have finally made some decisions, I wanted to post these photos as a reminder of all the planning that has gone into making this collection. I doubt that I will look back and feel wistful about my days of making color charts and tearing my hair out because a certain fabric is “suddenly looking too blue.” But it’s a nice reminder of how lucky I am to have access to such lovely materials.
There’s nothing like a new stack of business cards! I was lucky enough to work with Laura Carignan (of Lulu Dee), a graphic designer here in Los Angeles, who helped me create my new logo and branded materials for Cotton & Flax. Last week, Laura letterpress printed the designs on some business cards and hang tags for Cotton & Flax, along with help from Mable of Dee and Lala stationery.
In the end, we created a few different pieces, which were letterpress printed on luxuriously thick, tree-free paper, which is made from 100% recovered cotton from the textile industry. Could you think of a better fit for a company that revolves around fabrics?
We printed the cards using a Vandercook letterpress, which belongs to Mable of Dee and Lala. I’ll be doing a full post about her amazing studio sometime soon, but I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the behind the scenes shots.
The business cards are my favorite part of the whole project. Laura created a design that could feature four of my hand drawn patterns (some of my favorites from the Cotton & Flax 2012 line!), and I think they turned out beautifully. Her bold logo is the obvious standout on the front of the card, printed in a rich black ink. The variety of different patterns, all embossed without ink, make the cards feel extra special, almost collectable.
She also created hang tags, which will accompany all Cotton & Flax items in retail shops and when I sell my wares at craft fairs and artist showcases.
Laura really has a knack for getting to know the ins and outs of your business, to better understand what the brand is all about. She paid close attention to what makes Cotton & Flax unique, and what types of branded materials were the best fit for my business. Looking for a great graphic designer? Get in touch with Laura here.
I’ve finally opened the Cotton & Flax Etsy shop! There are only a small number of pillows listed right now, which I’ll be selling until the Fall/Winter collection is ready to launch (hopefully at the beginning of next month). Feel free to browse the Cotton & Flax shop on Etsy!
I meet so many creative people, both in person at sales and events, and online on Etsy and Pinterest. Lots of people ask me about how I learned to print on fabric, and the truth is, I’m almost entirely self-taught! I learned traditional printmaking techniques (relief printing, intaglio, lithography, etc.) in college, but I didn’t learn to print onto fabric until after graduation.
I learned fabric printing, both silkscreen printing and relief printing with hand carved blocks, by reading lots of books and by experimenting. The best way to learn to print on textiles is by trying it out for yourself, and you don’t need a fancy studio to get started. These books will help you learn the basics, and guide you through some basic and intermediate project that you can give as gifts, or keep to decorate your home.
These books are invaluable parts of my library, and I return to them often. Some of them focus completely on printing on fabric, but a few are great introductions to printmaking in general, and cover the basics of printing on fabric as well.
Print Liberation / Mastering the Art of Fabric Printing and Design / Dyeing and Screen-Printing on Textiles / Little Owl’s Little Prints / Lotta Prints / Printing By Hand / The Printmaking Bible / A Field Guide to Fabric Design
This book from Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop is a great way to introduce young ones to printing – the projects included in her book are absolutely adorable, and will keep you entertained all afternoon.
Lena Cowin’s new book Made By Hand also has some fun printing projects. I didn’t include it in the roundup because it’s not strictly about printing or textile design, but it’s worth picking up!
Want to learn more about printmaking? Check out my screenprinting class for CreativeLive, and learn to print your own designs!
When I sell my textile work for Cotton & Flax in person, I’m often asked, “How do you print your fabrics?” The answer I usually give is that the fabrics are silkscreen printed, which I do by hand in my home studio. I talked about the process behind creating hand printed textiles last week, but I didn’t go into much detail about the silkscreen printing (or “screenprinting”) process. I know not everyone is familiar with how silkscreen printing works, so I made this little video that shows a snippet of the printing process.
This wasn’t intended to be a tutorial, so I skip over all the setup steps (like covering the silkscreen in emulsion and exposing my imagery onto the screen), as well as the parts that come after the printing (like heat setting the ink). The video just cuts to the chase, and you can see how I use a squeegee to hand print each piece of fabric through the silkscreen mesh template, making a piece of patterned fabric that will later be sewn into a pillow cover.
In the video, I’m printing one of my favorite patterns, the DNA squiggles, which will be sewn into small pillows. I’m hoping to expand my studio soon to print larger pieces of fabric (and maybe begin to sell yardage of my hand printed fabric), but for now, I’ll continue to print small pieces. If you’d like to learn more about silkscreen printing, there are a ton of great resources both online and in print for learning how to screen print at home. I’ve featured my top 6 DIY Printing books here, in case you’re curious!